AUSTRALIAN STOCKS HOLD GAINS: Here's what you need to know

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Australian stocks closed marginally higher.

Today’s scoreboard:

  • ASX 200: 5,878.30 +2.86 +0.05%
  • All Ordinaries: 5,912.00 +0.91 +0.02%
  • AUD/USD: 0.7354 -0.0011 -0.15%

The local market broke through the 5900 mark on the ASX200 but fell again in afternoon trade, just keeping in positive territory.

The major banks took off in early trade, making up for some of the losses of the last two days, but by the close had lost those the gains.

The Commonwealth was up 0.4% to $82.07 but the ANZ dropped 0.3% to $29.30.

AMP dropped 2.2% to $5.30 after reporting first quarter Australian wealth management net cash outflows of $199 million.

Agribusiness Graincorp shares jumped 8.3% to $9.87 after posting a 341% rise in net profit to $90 million for the half year to March.

The Amazon effect. Citi downgraded its long term earnings forecasts for JB H-Fi by more than 40% and Harvey Norman by more than 30%. JB Hi-Fi shares dropped 1.1% to close at $24.03 and Harvey Norman dipped 0.9% to $4.11.

The top stories:

1. The bank levy is a threat to the property market. UBS analysts Jonathon Mott and Rachel Bentvelzen are also unimpressed by the latest profit figures. Also read: The banks say even Treasury doesn’t know how the new levy will work

2. Myer sales are on a steeper slide. The department store blamed “challenging trading conditions” for a third quarter drop of 3.3% in headline sales to $653 million and 2% fall on a comparable store basis. Also read: Myer’s CEO says the retail sector is the worst shape in years. Myer shares fell 3.4% to close at $0.98.

3. Xero just became cash positive. The cloud accountancy software group increased revenue by 43% to $NZ295.4 million ($A274 million) for the 2016 year. Xero shares were up almost 6% to close at $21.80.

4. Adelaide startup Jemsoft gets bought for its artificial intelligence software. The buyer is Xped, an ASX-listed Internet of Things business.

5. A Chinese bottled water company on the ASX. Shares in the Tianmei Beverage Group surged after the Chinese company announced expansion of its bottled water production. Its shares closed 62% higher at $0.13.

6. Tech contractors finally get paid. Plutus Payroll, still bogged down in a dispute with the ATO, says the tax office has at least allowed wages to be released.

7. The NBN just doubled its coverage in just one year. The National Broadband Network today revealed that 4.6 million premises had access to its network as of the end of March this year.

8. Medicinal cannabis trials are expanding in NSW. Seven more hospitals across NSW will take part in trials of medicinal cannabis for chemotherapy patients.

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