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

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Australian stocks closed marginally higher.

Today’s scoreboard:

  • ASX 200: 5,921.50 +9.46 +0.16%
  • All Ordinaries: 5,944.40 +7.62 +0.13%
  • AUD/USD: 0.7486 +0.0012 +0.16%

The local market held onto its 0.68% gain of Wednesday for another positive close, led by the banks.

Westpac was up almost 1% to $35.14 and the NAB 0.8% to $33.88.

Energy companies were hit by reports the federal government could restrict gas exports to ensure local domestic supply.

Woodside Petroleum was down 1% to $32.22 and AGL 1.2% to $26.62. Santos dropped 5.5% to close at $3.44 after releasing a statement saying it would supply more gas into the domestic market.

Gold miner Northern Star added 4.9% to $4.47 after confirming it’s full year guidance.

The top stories:

1. Good and bad debt. Scott Morrison is moving to bring fresh thinking to the dumb debt conversation holding Australia back.

2. Foreign interest in Australian housing has dropped by more than 50%. The number of foreign investment applications for residential housing has fallen sharply.

3. What will Qantas do with its surplus cash? Qantas will have enough to buy back $1 billion in shares over two years, says Macquarie analysts. Qantas shares gained almost 5% to close at $4.21.

4. Blackmores sales are falling as China’s daigou online shoppers fade. The vitamin maker says sales fell 6.7% to $496 million for the first nine months of the financial year and net profit after tax was down 42.8% to $43 million. Its shares rose 3.8% to close at $106.49.

5. INSIDE THE STARTUP. Creating a fintech in Sydney without any cash.

6. The world’s first commercial robot bricklayer. Perth-based company Fastbrick Robotics says its one-armed robot is on track for commercial release this calendar year. Its shares added 4% to close at $0.125.

7. The Ten network slides into the red. The free to air network managed to grow its revenue from television in a falling market but still posted a loss of $232.19 million for the half year. Its shares fell 19% to close at $0.360.

8. Employers don’t like hiring people aged in their 40s. Almost a third of Australians perceived some form of age-related discrimination while employed or looking for work in the last 12 months.

9. Bunnings is still smashing it for Wesfarmers. Australia’s love of home improvement is paying dividends for Wesfarmers.

10. Sales growth at Coles has slowed to a trickle. The latest quarterly numbers from Wesfarmers show a further slowing in sales growth at Coles, due in part to more competition for Australia’s grocery dollar. Wesfarmers closed at $43.30, down 1.4%.

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