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

Ray Africano prepares the dough as he makes a pizza in Coral Gables, Florida. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Australian stocks fell for the third day, with the energy sector leading a downward run, despite a good profit result from the Commonwealth Bank, the largest company by market capitalisation.

Here’s the scoreboard:

  • S&P ASX 200: 5,769.10 -31.47 (-0.54%)
  • All Ordinaries: 5,731.70 -25.74 (-0.45%)
  • AUD/USD: 0.7772 +0.0001 (+0.02%)

On Wall Street, the S&P 500 was stronger by 1% and the outlook for a Greek debt deal improved.

On the local market, three out of the four major banks were flat. The strongest sector was utilities which was up 1.97%. Australian Pipeline was up 1.41% to $8.66.

The major miners were battered with BHP down 1.34% to $30.97 and Rio Tinto off 1.48% to $59.80. Energy stocks were weaker with Woodside Petroleum down almost 3% to $34.16 and Santos losing 3.2% to $7.71.

The top stories on Wednesday:

1. Commonwealth Bank’s half year results. $3.21 billion or 69.8% of cash profit will be paid to shareholders. And here is where the rest of the billions go. Its shares closed down 0.79% to $91.86, but are still 8% higher than the start of the year.

2. Hot Pizza. Domino’s Pizza shares went on a tear after posting a 44.2% rise in profit supported by digital innovation and big business in Japan. Its shares closed up more than 21% to $33.00.

3. Missing sentiment has been found. The rate cut and lower fuel prices are driving a surge in Australian consumer confidence.

4. The reporting season. Aggregate profits are up 6.7% for the 27 ASX200 companies which have so far released half-year results. According to CommSec, dividends are stronger by 7.6%. Among those reporting today, CSL posted a 7% increase in net profit of $US692 million for the six months to the end of December but downgraded its outlook for the full year by 10%. Its shares were punished, closing down almost 7.8% to $82.95.

Here’s the chart.

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