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

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Australian stocks finished flat in a relatively quiet session, falling into the close after opening higher.

Here’s today’s scoreboard:

ASX 200: 5,738.10 -1.16 (-0.02%)
All Ordinaries: 5,807.10 +1.96 (+0.03%)
AUD/USD: 0.7788 +0.0036 (+0.46%)

Asian markets had an indifferent lead from global stocks, with low volumes in the US due to the Columbus Day holiday.

Regionally, the best performer was the South Korean KOSPI index, which rose by 1.4% while stocks in Shanghai finished 0.4% lower.

On the local index, the big banks and miners were little-changed, while energy stocks were the worst performer, falling by 0.8%. Consumer discretionary stocks were the best performing sector with a 0.66% gain.

Shares in a2 Milk, which supplies infant milk formula to China, rose by 2.98% to an all-time high. The recent gains follow approval from Chinese authorities at the end of September for a2 to continue exporting its products to China.

Among other notable moves, online retailer Kogan.com also closed at a new record high of $4.50. AMP rose by 3.55% after receiving a buy-rating from the Credit Suisse equities team.

Top stories:

1. Sell everything for Bitcoin: A family from Holland has put all their worldly possessions up for sale and are living a “minimalist lifestyle” at a campsite, with the aim of striking it rich by putting all their resources into Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

2. Australia, we have a problem: Higher energy bills are here, and as more households lay eyes on their first bill since price hikes were introduced on July 1, it may put even more pressure on the outlook for domestic consumption.

3. $33 million for Aussie tech start-up: Airtasker, which provides an online marketplace for outsourcing every-day tasks, has just raised $33 million to fund its UK expansion plans.

4. Worrying signs for retail: Although the monthly NAB survey shows business conditions are booming,

5. Battle for the fastest internet: There’s a new leader in the face to be the fastest internet service provider in Australia, with data for September showing family-owned Exetel knocked Optus from top spot.

6. Australia Post launches free delivery: The logistics provider has launched a new delivery service called Shipster, which includes free delivery options, as it prepares for the looming arrival of Amazon to the Australian market.

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