AUSTRALIAN STOCKS FALL: What you need to know

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Australian shares closed lower, ending a five day run higher.

Today’s scoreboard:

  • S&P ASX 200: 5,760.70 -46.74 -0.80%
  • All Ordinaries: 5,813.00 -44.69 -0.76%
  • AUD/USD: 0.7374 +0.0019 +0.26%

The local market reversed direction, following Wall Street where the S&P500 fell 0.4% overnight.

The ASX200 dropped below the 5800 mark but the index is still up 1.7% so far this month.

Today, financial stocks lost some of the weight they gained in the rally.

The ANZ dropped 1.5% to $31.28, the NAB 1.2% to $31.67 and AMP 1.6% to $5.23.

Rio Tinto was up 1% to $59.95 but BHP shed 0.4% to $25.36.

The latest retail sales numbers from the ABS missed expectations. Sales rose by 0.2% to $25.665 billion in November in seasonally adjusted terms, just half the rate that had been expected.

Among retailers, Myer dropped 2.2% to $1.32 and Harvey Norman 1.1% to $5.06.

The top stories:

1. A sudden rise in the size of deposits to Australia’s $2.1 trillion superannuation pool. A wave of extra payments has hit super funds as retirement savers try to squeeze as much cash as they can into their accounts before the government changes regulations mid-year.

2. James Packer is taking a firmer grip on Crown Resorts. The largest shareholder at 48.2% through his private company Consolidated Press Holdings has decided to re-join the board and change the chairman.

3. Australians are feeling confident in early 2017. The ANZ-Roy Morgan consumer confidence index surged by 5.9% to 120.1 last week, leaving it well above its long-run average of 112.8.

4. Peter Gregg, the CEO of Primary Health Care, has been summonsed to appear in court. He is charged with two counts of falsifying company documents in 2011 when he was at Leighton. Shares in Primary Health Care fell 4.7% to $4.01.

5. The ombudsman has started investigating the Centrelink data-matching debacle. Independent federal MP Andrew Wilkie called the investigation “a victory for common sense”.

6. NAB sent details of 60,000 customers to a porn site owner. The bank apologised for sending to the wrong email address.

7. ANDREW WILKIE: The government needs to “get off their arse and do something” about politicians’ travel expenses.

8. The 20 safest airlines in the world. And, yes, Qantas gets the number one spot again.

9. The line between work and play is blurring. And it’s creating a new kind of business traveller.

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