AUSTRALIAN STOCKS GO NOWHERE: Here's what you need to know

Photo: Ezra Shaw/ Getty Images.

Australian stocks closed just a touch higher after a late afternoon rally.

Today’s scoreboard:

  • S&P ASX 200: 5,248.30 +12.73 +0.24%
  • All Ordinaries: 5,286.50 +14.89 +0.28%
  • AUD/USD: 0.7270 +0.0010 +0.14%

The local market suddenly jumped in afternoon trade after tracking in negative territory for most of the session.

The small rally coincided with a 0.75% bounce in China’s Shanghai Composite Index. Investors also liked Federal Treasury Secretary John Fraser’s comments that the economy is picking up.

The day ended with seven out of ten sectors higher in lighter than usual trade.

The rise was driven mostly by resources stocks. Rio Tinto added 1.23% to $52.78. BHP, which today released production numbers mostly in line with forecasts, was up 1% to $24.23.

The banks were mostly flat with the ANZ up 0.56% to $28.56 and Westpac down 0.32% to $30.75.

Gold stocks climbed with the physical price of the precious metal. Northern Star added 7.5% to $3.12 and Evolution 8% to $1.62.

The top stories Wednesday:

1. Beating the bank. James Packer, who stepped down in August as chairman of Crown resorts, isn’t that happy with the returns from the casino business he used to head. Crown closed 3.5% higher at $11.99.

2. And this is why Packer is investing in movies. The emerging middle class in China like their movies as much, if not more, than their counterparts in the US.

3. The thoughts of hardass Treasury Secretary John Fraser. “Things have been picking up somewhat. It’s been happening for the last couple of months or so.”

4. Joe Hockey’s retirement. He’s leaving Parliament but is tipped to get a major diplomatic posting.

5. NSW is powering Australian economic growth. The ANZ released the third edition of its “Stateometer”, an alternate composite gauge on economic performance across the states.

6. We’re all agreed on China. Australia’s free trade agreement with China will pass the nation’s parliament after a political impasse over the job protection was resolved.

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