AUSTRALIAN STOCKS FALL: Here's What You Need To Know

Valentina Mikac of Croatia stumbles. Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

The Australian market stumbled to its fourth loss in a row with little direction from Wall Street.

The banks were all weaker, led by Westpac whose CEO Gail Kelly announced her retirement today.

The miners were generally stronger with Rio Tinto up 0.49% to $59.70 and BHP firmer by 0.15% to $33.25.

First, the scoreboard:

  • S&P ASX 200: 5,442.70 -20.35 (-0.37%)
  • All Ordinaries: 5,423.50 -19.48 (-0.36%)
  • AUD/USD: 0.8698 -0.0018 (-0.21%)

And the top stories on Thursday:

1. Gail Kelly, Australia’s best paid banker and the first female CEO of a bank, announced her retirement from Westpac. Her replacement from February 1 will be Brian Hartzer, currently Chief Executive of Westpac’s Australian Financial Services. Westpac shares were weaker than other bank stocks, down more than 1% to $32.96.

2. The Reserve Bank gets tough with the Australian dollar. In a fairly optimistic speech today by RBA assistant governor Christopher Kent, the central bank made it clear again that it wants the Aussie dollar lower.

3. If oil prices are falling around the world, why then haven’t prices fallen at the bowsers in Australia? Here’s the analysis. Local energy stocks weakened on the back of falling global prices, with Oil Search down more than 2% to $8.35 and Santos 2.25% to $12.17.

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