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

Matt Jones of Australia during day one of the 2015 Australian Open in Sydney. y Matt King/Getty Images

Australian stocks close marginally higher.

Here’s the scoreboard:

  • S&P ASX 200: 5,210.70 +17.02 +0.33%
  • All Ordinaries: 5,259.70 +14.55 +0.28%
  • AUD/USD: 0.7239 -0.0013 -0.18%

Six out of ten sectors were higher but not enough to make up for Wednesday’s 0.63% slide and Tuesday’s 0.95% fall.

The major banks were all stronger with the Commonwealth up 1.5% to $80.22 and Westpac 1.2% to $32.09.

BHP was the key drag on the market as more bad news kept coming from the fatal mine disaster in Brazil. The world’s biggest miner dropped below $19, falling 3.7% today to close at $18.94.

The top stories Thursday:

1. Slater and Gordon drops by half. The British government announced plans which would change the rights of people injured in road accidents and that could impact the law firm’s earnings. It closed down 51.42% to 94 cents after earlier hitting a low of 89.5 cents.

2. Toxic risks. A United Nations agency criticised BHP and its partner Vale for not warning sooner about the risks to communities downstream from the fatal Samarco iron ore mine disaster in Brazil.

3. Takeover closer. OzForex has opened its books to Western Union so it can decide whether or not to go ahead with a takeover offer which values the online foreign exchange company at up to $888 million. OzForex closed down 2.25% to $3.47.

4. Sorry. Gordon Cairns, the new chairman of Woolworths, opened his first annual general meeting with an apology for what he called poor profit results and subsequent falls in the company’s share price. Woolworths closed down 1.48% to $24.02.

5. Problem areas. After several years of record profits and a surge in demand for investment loans through the property booms in Sydney and Melbourne, this year has been more troublesome for Australian banks.

6. Investment outlook remains grim. Capex numbers from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

7. Big games, big bucks. The NRL has signed a $1.8 billion deal with Fox Sports, Nine Network and Telstra.

8. A tough gig. Turnover of CEOs at Australia’s ASX 200 companies is more than one third higher than the global average, according to analysis by PwC.

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