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

Matt Cardy/Getty Images

The ASX200 finished a choppy session almost unchanged, after drifting lower into the close.

Here’s today’s scoreboard:

ASX 200: 5,651.80 -0.26 0.00%
All Ordinaries: 5,720.20 +0.56 +0.01%
AUD/USD: 0.7829 -0.0034 -0.43%

After climbing by around 0.3% in early trade, the ASX200 fell back in the wake of a poor retail sales report which badly missed expectations.

Not surprisingly, the listed retail sector felt the brunt of the impact with companies such as Myer, JB Hi-Fi and Harvey Norman all dropping sharply following the data release. Myer led the large retailers lower, closing down by more than 2% after losing more than 2.5% yesterday.

Elsewhere, the ASX200 financials index weighed on sentiment as all four big banks finished the session in the red.

Falls among financials were offset by a rise in the resources and materials sectors, as BHP and Rio both closed up while Bluescope Steel reversed yesterday’s loss with a 3% gain.

On a brighter note, Qantas shares closed up 3.72% at a new record high of $6.13. Shares in a2 Milk Company and Bellamy’s — both manufacturers of infant baby formula — rose by 4.75% and 4.69% respectively after a2 received a broker upgrade from Goldman Sachs.

Top stories:

1. Google’s weapon: Google has released it’s Pixel 2 phone, and while the product may not be a market leader it’s allowed Google to showcase one area where it has a distinct advantage over Apple — artificial intelligence.

2. Retail sales tank: It was a shocking data report for August retail sales, with a 0.6% fall badly missing expectations of a 0.3% rise.

3. $200,000 stoppage: A restrictive visa law requiring overseas applicants to demonstrate $200,000 worth of investment in their new business is stifling Australia’s growth as a startup hub.

4. JP Morgan’s complete guide: This presentation from JP Morgan Asset Management Australia covers everything you need to know about Australian economics and markets.

5. Graduates doing it tough: It’s a competitive environment for Australian university graduates according to job search website Adzuna, with 22 grads for every one job on offer.

6. Australia Inc.: A closer look at the RBA’s monthly chart pack released yesterday reveals that big Australian companies have been hesitant to invest in large-scale capital expenditure projects.

7. Diversify your earnings: Dorie Clark has seven income streams, and she recommends finding ways to earn side-income in addition to your main job so that you’re never left in the lurch.

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