AUSTRALIAN STOCKS FALL: Here's what you need to know

Tom O’Brien falls from Gala Ball at Exeter racecourse in England. Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

Australian stocks closed down on Thursday.

Here’s the scoreboard:

  • S&P ASX 200: 5,193.00 -49.29 -0.94%
  • All Ordinaries: 5,247.90 -46.92 -0.89%
  • AUD/USD: 0.7146 -0.0001 -0.02%

Nine out of ten local sectors were in the red, following Wall Street where the S&P 500 was down 0.4%.

Stocks traded sharply lower in early trade before regaining some lost ground in the afternoon. However, the ASX 200 still closed below the key support level of 5200.

The major banks led the fall with the NAB, going ex-dividend, down 4.51% to $28.56. The Commonwealth lost 0.95% to $75.85 and the ANZ 0.92% to $26.65.

The big miners also lost ground with Rio Tinto losing 1.38% to $50.150.

The top stories Thursday:

1. A slip up by lenders. Home investor lending was underestimated by $50 billion.

2. Back in the black. Today Virgin Australia reported statutory after tax profit of $1.7 million for the September quarter, an improvement of $60.7 million. Its shares closed 1% down at $0.475.

3.On track for another record. The Commonwealth Bank reported unaudited cash profit of $2.4 billion for the September quarter, a 0.5% rise on the same three months last year.

4. Not so healthy exercise. Investors sold down Ardent Leisure despite reporting a 19.3% lift in September quarter revenue to $165.96 million.

5. Collecting debt. Credit Corp Group updated full year profit guidance to $42 million to $44 million, up $2 million on previous expectations. Its shares were up more than 9% to $9.35.

6. Huge rise in sales. But Xero has recorded a increase in net loss after tax, up 81% to $NZ 44.327 million ($AU 40.9 million) from $NZ 24.471 million ($AU 22.579 million) in the same period the year before. Zero shares were up more than 3% to $17.09.

7. What happened? Chief financial officers of Australia’s big ASX-listed companies have suddenly lost their optimistic outlook.

8. The Fed is everywhere. A horse named Yellen won the first race on Oaks Day.

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