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

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Australian stocks fell, breaking a three session winning streak, as investors took profits and reacted to a mixed bag of half-year profit results.

Here’s the scoreboard:

  • S&P ASX 200: 5,908.50 -36.41 (-0.61%)
  • All Ordinaries: 5,877.90 -30.66 (-0.52%)
  • AUD/USD: 0.7859 -0.0028 (-0.36%)

On Wall Street, the S&P 500 was marginally down 0.1%.

On the local market, the major banks were all down slightly, about 0.5% weaker. The big miners, BHP and Rio Tinto, were flat.

The top stories on Thursday:

1. The bad news on Australian business confidence just keeps on coming. Conditions are improving, but confidence isn’t following.

2. Qantas is on its way. The airline smashed its own forecast in a return to profit at $367 million for the half year. It’s shares, which are up 150% since January, closed at $2.85, up 1.42% on the day.

3. Nine Entertainment’s revenue and profit fell but the free-to-air TV network announced a $150 million share buyback. Its shares closed 9.4% higher at $2.03.

4. A string of December half results included Transfield, whose shares were down more than 6% to $1.53 after rejecting a takeover bid from Ferrovial in Spain, and Ramsay health who shares were up almost 4% to $66.63 after announcing a 46% rise in revenue.

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