AUSTRALIAN STOCKS FALL: What you need to know

Australia’s Maddison Keeney and Anabelle Smith in the Diving Synchronised 3m Springboard Final at the Rio Olympic Games. Clive Rose/Getty Images

Australian stocks closed in the red for the second session.

The scoreboard:

  • S&P ASX 200: 5,508.00 -35.71 -0.64%
  • All Ordinaries: 5,599.40 -28.84 -0.51%
  • AUD/USD: 0.7706 +0.0001 +0.01%

The ASX dropped below 5500 points but clawed back to just above that level before the close.

The banks and financial stocks were the main drag.

Westpac fell 2.56% to $30.02 after warning of weaker non-interest revenue.

The Commonwealth, which Wednesday released its annual results, was down 1.8% to $75.95. The ANZ shed 1% to $26.48 and the NAB also 1% to $26.55.

The AMP lost 3.75% to $5.65 and the Bank of Queensland 1.68% to $10.52.

Nick Scali surged 15% to close at $5.50 after the furniture retailer posted a 53% jump in full year profit to $26.2 million.

Fund manager Magellan Financial closed 7% higher at $25.96 after posting a 14% rise in profit to $198.4 million.

The top stories:

1. The Telstra billions. Telstra posted a 35.9% rise in full year profit to $5.8 billion, is giving back $1.5 billion in capital to shareholders and has increased its dividend payout. Telstra shares closed down 1.6% to $5.51.

2. Fixing the network. Telstra is spending an extra $3 billion over three years to remove the “pain points” causing network outages and to build longer term improvements in its technology and infrastructure.

3. The hunt for the Good Guys. The consumer watchdog the ACCC (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission) has decided not to oppose JB Hi-Fi’s possible acquisition. JB Hi-Fi shares added 2% to close at $27.00.

4. More to come from NZ. The Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) cut interest rates by 25 basis points at the conclusion of its August monetary policy meeting, taking the cash rate to a record-low level of 2%.

5. Californian arrives in Australia. Zelda Therapeutics, a biotech developing medical cannabis therapies, is doing a backdoor ASX listing through junior miner Gleneagle Gold.

6. No sale. Federal treasurer Scott Morrison has announced he is opposed on national security grounds to a controlling lease in NSW power network Ausgrid going to Chinese bidders.

7. It’s back. Nearly 44 hours after the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) pulled the plug on its website on Census night, the site is finally back online. Also read: Malcolm Turnbull is on the warpath over the census fiasco.

8. The dividend game. This global fund manager is questioning the sustainability of dividends in Australian stocks.

9. It’s getting cheaper to fly around Australia. Discount airfares fell by 6.2% in the year to August.

10. SKY FIRE. How to watch this week’s Perseids, which can storm down at a meteor per minute.

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