Australia’s Christopher McHugh at the Beach Volleyball FIVB Sochi Open in Russia. Oleg Nikishin/Getty Images for FIVB

Australian stocks ended the session, and the week, ahead.

Here’s the scoreboard:

  • S&P ASX 200: 5,292.00 +12.94 +0.25%
  • All Ordinaries: 5,358.60 +14.07 +0.26%
  • AUD/USD: 0.7390 -0.0076 -1.02%

The local market closed the week 0.75% higher, with sentiment fuelled by the prospect more rate cuts. The ASX 200 is now just 3.86 points lower than the start of 2016.

The Australian dollar fell hard after the RBA downgraded its inflation forecasts, setting the scene for more interest rate cuts.

And the prospect of even lower rates reversed a 1.2% fall to end the session in positive territory.

Today the banks ended mixed with Westpac up 1% to $30.80 and the ANZ down 0.79% to $25.14.

BHP was up 0.16% to $18.46 But Rio Tinto lost 0.65% to $47.75.

The top stories Friday:

1. More rate cuts? RBA has cut inflation forecasts. Underlying inflation is now seen at 1.5% by the end of the current quarter, down from 2% in February, indicating that the bank does not expect a near-term rebound in inflationary pressures.

2. A record result. Macquarie bank posted a 29% rise in full year net profit to $2.063 billion, smashing the bank’s previous record of $1.8 billion in 2008. Macquarie shares closed at $65.10, down just 0.31%.

3. About those company tax cuts. They will cost $48.2 billion over ten years, according to Treasury modelling.

4. Fighting over tradies. Fairfax Media has bought a strategic stake in Oneflare, an online digital marketplace for local trade services and a competitor to hipages in which News Corp has a significant stake. Fairafx closed down 1.2% to $0.80.

5. NBN revenue is up 158%. It posted $275 million for the first three quarters but the loss was still $1.95 billion, up from $1.4 billion.

6. Both eyes on China. Blackmores, the vitamin maker with Australia’s most expensive shares, has paid $23 million for a stake in a Chinese herbal medicine business to further enhance its product push into Asia. Blackmores shares closed at $170.80, up 0.6%.

7. Misleading and deceptive conduct. Penguin Australia has been fined $30,000 for publishing the recipe book of fake cancer survivor Belle Gibson.

8. Heading for profit. Stan, the Fairfax Media and Nine network competitor to Netflix, is expected to reach cash flow break even during the 2018 financial year.

9. JB Hi-Fi shares are on a run. The retailer, whose shares are in the 10 most shorted stocks, is getting the benefit from this week’s cut in the official cash rates and from the final closure of competitor Dick Smith.

10. More Chinese coming than New Zealanders. Australia’s already bustling tourism sector got a little bit busier in March with short-term visitor arrivals surging to yet another record high. Its shares closed at $24.25, up 2.4%.

11. REVIEW: Why the Mercedes C-Class is still the premium coupe to beat.

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