AUSTRALIAN STOCKS GO NOWHERE: What you need to know

Australia’s Kathryn Mitchell during the Women’s Javelin Throw Qualifying Round on Day 11 of the Rio Olympic Games. Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Australian stocks closed marginally stronger.

The scoreboard:

  • S&P ASX 200: 5,535.00 +3.02 +0.05%
  • All Ordinaries: 5,628.10 +2.43 +0.04%
  • AUD/USD: 0.7678 -0.0017 -0.22%

The local market kept a nostril above water.

The major drag was the Commonwealth Bank, which went ex-dividend and dropped 2.5% to close at $74.04.

The other banks did well with Westpac closing 1.5% higher at $30.16.

BHP, which last night posted its biggest loss and cut dividends, closed 3.2% higher at $20.91. Rio Tinto added 2.2% to $49.56 and Woodside Petroleum 2.3% to $28.30.

Crown Resorts jumped 4.5% to close at $13.89 after posting an annual resulted boosted by the sale of shares in its troubled Macau holding. The proceeds pushed net profit to $948.8 million, up 146.4%.

Sonic Health shares were up 6% to $23.51 after the company posted a 30% rise in profit to $451 million.

The top stories:

1. Growth stalls. Half year profits at QBE fell 46% to $US265 million as increased competition and more payouts cut into earnings. Its shares fell 8% to close at $10.24.

2. Help the kids buy a house. RBA boss Glenn Stevens: Parents should expect they’ll have to help. Also read: It’s OK to say no to foreign capital.

3. Wages growth holds steady, for a change. The Australian wage price index exceeded expectations, hitting 2.1% year-on-year.

4. Getting the flu. CSL posted a 10% fall in full year net profit to $US1.24 billion ($A1.6 billion). Its shares dropped 5% to close at $110.84.

5. A stable outlook. Moody’s Investors Service today affirmed Australia’s Aaa sovereign credit rating.

6. The robots are coming. Australians are increasingly starting to worry about being replaced by artificial intelligence (AI) and automation.

7. The OpenAgent online real estate platform. It’s just banked $12 million in funding, thanks to Westpac’s venture capital business Reinventure, with Breakthrough Labs and Singapore-based Qualgro also tipping in.

8. That Usain Bolt photo. Australian photographer describes the moment he knew his Usain Bolt picture was special.

9. Winners again. There’s one crucial area where baby boomers are way more tech-savvy than millennials.

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