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

Photo: Paul Kane/Getty Images

The Australian market closed slightly higher.

Here’s the scoreboard:

  • S&P ASX 200: 5,263.80 +15.49 +0.30%
  • All Ordinaries: 5,299.60 +13.13 +0.25%
  • AUD/USD: 0.7205 -0.0005 -0.07%

Five sectors were lower and five higher, with the ASX 200 closing higher, adding to Wednesday’s 0.24% rise.

A negative Wall Street, with the S&P 500 down 0.3%, and falls in prices for oil, iron ore and gold, kept sentiment subdued on the local market.

However, a takeover bid for Santos flowed to the rest of the energy sector, sending those stocks up more than 3% as a group. Origin Energy was up 5.7% to $5.92 and Woodside 0.8% to $30.95.

The banks were positive with Westpac up 0.9% to $31.03. The big miners lost ground with BHP 0.5% weaker at $24.10.

The top stories Thursday:

1. Rates on the move. The Commonwealth Bank, Australia’s biggest mortgage lender, became the second big bank to raise variable home loan rates but not as much as Westpac. The CBA closed 0.77% higher at $76.39.

2. Conditions for business in Australia are now at their best since the GFC. The NAB’s long-running Quarterly Business Survey.

3. Upbeat about iron ore. Atlas Iron is four months ahead of schedule in its return to full production and is managing to sell its ore for more than the cost of digging it up.

4. A Sydney hub is coming. A new home for Asia’s future tech unicorns.

5. TV moves. Foxtel’s plan to take a holding of up to 15% in the troubled Ten Network for $77 million has been approved by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

6. Investing in bricks isn’t risk free. Australian property is now riskier than the stock market, according to analysis by Credit Suisse.

7. M&A activity is slowing. China’s slowdown is crushing business deal activity in Australia.

8. A Middle East-based private investment firm. Santos says a $7.14 billion takeover bid from Scepter Partners is opportunistic. Santos shares closed up more than 16% to $6.32.

9. Bunnings and Coles rule. The Wesfarmers divisions are walking all over the competition, according to the latest quarterly sales. Wesfarmers shares were up 0.5% to $40.92.

10. Human rights and climate change. Institutional investors want to see non financial disclosures as well as the usual numbers.

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