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

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Australian stocks closed marginally higher.

Today’s scoreboard:

  • ASX 200: 5,872.70 +7.79 +0.13%
  • All Ordinaries: 5,909.70 +5.87 +0.10%
  • AUD/USD: 0.7603 -0.0026 -0.34%

The local market eased to a positive but weak close, weighed down by the miners but buoyed by the major banks.

Rio Tinto was down 0.7% to $60.01 and the Commonwealth was up 0.5% to $86.39.

Fashion retailer Oroton, which last week reported a fall in sales, added 5% to $1.60, up from last week’s low of $1.48.

Private hospital operator Healthscope was down almost 4% to $2.18 after its CEO of six years, Robert Cooke, stepped down. He’s being replaced by Gordon Ballantyne, formerly of Telstra.

Coal miner Yancoal was down 11% to $0.35 after a Bank of China subsidiary failed to provide a $US175 million loan on time. It has already raised $US775 million.

Health technology company Orion Health was down 11.6% to $1.59 after announcing it had failed to close a number of contracts as fast as expected. It is also looking at additional investors.

The top stories:

1. Australian house prices surged in March. and it wasn’t just in Sydney and Melbourne. Also read: Apartment prices grew faster than houses.

2. MyDeal.com.au has raised $5 million. The online retail marketplace allows buyers to purchase household goods like furniture, electronics and appliances from a variety of retailers from the same website.

3. More renewable energy means more demand for gas-fired electricity. And price volatility isn’t over yet, says Moody’s.

4. The ANZ Bank will use voice recognition to skip passwords. This will apply to payments greater than $1,000 through the mobile app.

5. Australia’s manufacturing sector is ramping up. The latest manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) released by the Ai Group came in at 57.5 in March, down fractionally on the 15-year high of 59.3 reported in February.

6. Bod Australia plans to use cannabis in its skin creams. Its shares jumped as high as 50% before closed at $0.31, up 37%.

7. Airbnb is now huge in Sydney. Deloitte Access Economics analysis offers insight into the sharing economy in New South Wales.

8. PICTURES: Here’s the aftermath of cyclone Debbie in Lismore.

9. Facing down fear. How to think about scary but remote risks like shark attacks and plane crashes.

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