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

A hot air balloon launches in Canberra. Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Australian stocks closed marginally higher.

Today’s scoreboard:

  • ASX 200: 5,896.10 +5.62 +0.10%
  • All Ordinaries: 5,959.80 +4.98 +0.08%
  • AUD/USD: 0.7855 +0.0009 +0.11%

The local market closed flat for the second session in a row, still holding on to gains of about 4% for the month. The ASX200 is hovering just below the 5900 point mark.

The big miners were the key drag today, with Rio Tinto down 2.5% to $69.12 and BHP 2.2% to $26.56.

The banks added weight with the ANZ 0.8% higher at $30.60.

Freelancer shares continued their run. They were up 5.1% to $0.515, adding to yesterday’s 10.1% rise following the release of the Australian labour exchange marketplace’s latest quarterly cash flow report.

Billionaire James Packer’s Crown Resorts fell 2.8% to close at $10.92, adding to yesterday’s 4% fall following allegations in parliament of poker machine tampering in Melbourne.

Top stories:

1. Australia’s jobs report beats yet again. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), employment rose by 19,800 in September in seasonally adjusted terms, topping forecasts for an increase of 15,000. Also read: 2 charts showing the boom in full-time employment growth.

2. Hundreds of thousands of Westpac account holders will be refunded $65 million. The bank found out they didn’t get benefits they were entitled to when they opened new accounts.

3. Australia’s hiring spree. According to new data from Seek, advertisement’s placed on its website rose by 12.1% in the year to September, decelerating slightly from the 13.2% increase seen in August.

4. Domino’s just became the leading pizza chain in Germany. Australia’s ASX-listed pizza group has bought 170 stores in Germany from Hallo Pizza, the largest independent pizza chain in the country, for 32 million euros ($A48 million). Its shares closed at $49.35, up 3.4%.

5. Where boys comes from. Science has identified a trend in Canberra, Australia’s capital city, which defies the rest of the developed world — proportionally, more boys than girls are being born there.

6. Hot competition is back in Australian supermarkets. Woolworths has had a good year, nudging ahead of its key competitors in terms of market share.

7. The new Penfolds wines. A top Australian wine judge gives his verdict.

8. Here’s what happens when you don’t get enough sleep. The importance of sleep for keeping our brains optimally active may be reflected in our changing sleep patterns as we age.

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