AUSTRALIAN STOCKS ARE FLAT: Here's What You Need To Know

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The Australian market plunged then rallied today, with sellers coming out in the morning and buyers returning in late trade.

The selling came against a weaker Wall St overnight. The S&P 500 index was down by 0.4% as lower oil prices dragged down energy stocks.

The local Australian market followed, marking down energy stocks.

CSR ended the day at $3.60, up 2.86%, as it indicated good earnings and strong demand from the construction industry.

First, the scoreboard:

S&P ASX 200: 5,517.90 -2.02 (-0.04%)
All Ordinaries: 5,492.80 -5.44 (-0.10%)
AUD/USD: 0.8738 +0.0002 (+0.02%)

And the top stories Wednesday:

1. The price of oil is falling with the Nymex down 1.95% to $77.24 a barrel, well below the average of more than $100 a barrel for the past few years. This hit local energy stocks such as Liquid Natural Gas Limited which was down more than 5% to $3.65, Santos losing 2.19% to $12.51 and Senex Energy weaker by 5.1% to $0.465.

2. Weakness in Australia’s service industry reinforced concerns about sluggish conditions across much of the economy. The Australian Industry Group’s (AIG) Performance of Services Index (PSI) dropped 1.8 points to 43.6 in October, the lowest reading since August 2013 and an eighth consecutive month of contraction.

3. The Commonwealth Bank, Australia’s biggest, made a good start to the financial year. It posted an unaudited $2.3 billion first quarter cash profit, up 10% from $2.1BN. Statutory net profit rose by 14% to $2.4 billion. Its ended the day up 0.98% to $81.56.

4. Slowing growth in China. the HSBC China Services PMI for October shows a fall to 52.9 down from September’s 53.5.

5. A bearish outlook on Australia from Morgan Stanley. Storm clouds are gathering, according to the latest Morgan Stanley Australian Macro+ report. The investment bank downgraded its outlook for economic growth, the ASX and earnings growth for Australian companies.

6. Ore shipments from the Pilbara in WA’s North West hit 50.1 million tonnes in October. Port Hedland, the world’s biggets iron ore port, moved a record 37.5 million tonnes, up 8.5 million tonnes or 30% compared to October in 2013.

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