AUSTRALIAN STOCKS CLAW BACK GAINS: Here's what you need to know

David Handschuh/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images

Australian stocks closed higher to gain back some of yesterday’s losses, but still finished the week down 0.2%.

Today’s scoreboard:

ASX 200: 5,682.10 +26.68 (+0.47%)
All Ordinaries: 5,740.60 +23.87 (+0.42%)
AUD/USD: 0.7945 +0.0014 +0.18%

The ASX200 financials index bounced back, rising by 0.92% with all of the big four banks moving higher. Westpac led the gains, finishing up by more than 1%.

The resources sector traded flat, with BHP and Fortescue both lower while South32 closed up almost 2%.

Rio Tinto rose by more than 1.5% after announcing a $2.5 billion stock buyback, but dipped towards the close to finish 0.77% higher.

Shares in Seven West Media closed up by 3.52%, after talks of a merger with regional broadcaster Prime Media fell over. Shares in Prime Media collapsed, falling by 12.63%.

The Australian dollar held its ground above US79 cents in Asian trade, and a short time ago was trading at US79.45 cents.

Top stories:

1. North Korea issues new threat: A South Korean news agency reported that North Korea may test a hydrogen bomb in the Pacific Ocean, while Kim Jong Un called US president Donald Trump “mentally deranged” in a statement on Thursday.

2. Abbott’s alleged assailant charged with assault: A 38-year old Hobart man has been charged with assault, after allegedly headbutting former Prime Minister Tony Abbott yesterday.

3. Bernardi raises $200,000: By criticising an Adelaide primary school’s “Do It In A Dress” fundraising initiative, independent MP Cory Bernardi has inadvertently helped raise $200,000, after the school set an initial target of $900.

4. Aussie dollar takes a fall: The AUD had its biggest one-day fall since early May overnight, amid falling commodity prices and a cautious outlook by RBA governor Philip Lowe.

5. China, cryptos and monetary policy: It’s all in this week’s Devils & Details podcast, with guest Con Michalakis — the Chief Investment Officer at Statewide Super.

6. Six best business books: The annual list of best business books, judged by McKinsey & Company and the Financial Times, has been narrowed to six, with the winner to be announced in November.

7. Dead croc set to start a turf war: Police in Queensland are investigating the shooting death of a huge 5.2m crocodile, with locals concerned that other male crocs may become more aggresive as they compete to become the new dominant male.

8. AUD won’t follow iron ore slump: Although iron ore prices have crashed by more than 13% over the past week, ANZ’s analysts don’t expect falling iron ore prices to have much impact on the Aussie dollar.

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