AUSTRALIAN STOCKS JUMP: Here's what you need to know

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Australian stocks closed higher.

Today’s scoreboard:

  • ASX200: 6,042.20 +42.40 +0.71%
  • All Ordinaries: 6,146.10 +40.90 +0.67%
  • AUD/USD: 0.7867 +0.0029 +0.37%

The ASX200 broke through the key 6000 mark, following Wall Street where the S&P500 rose 1.6% on Friday.

The local gains were led by financial stocks with Westpac up 1.9% to $31.07 and CBA 1.5% to $76.60.

Wesfarmers, Australia’s biggest private employer, went ex-dividend and fell 3% to $41.24.

Child care centre operator G8 Education fell almost 8% to close at $2.90 after reporting flat half year profit at $80.6 million.

Bluscope Steel was up 2.2% to $15.84 after posting a 23% rise in profit to $441.2 million for the six months to December.

Top stories:

1. House prices in suddenly stopped falling. According to CoreLogic, prices were flat last week across the country on an average weighted basis, including in Australia’s largest housing market, Sydney, which has led recent price declines.

2. QBE posts a $1.6 billion loss and slashed dividends. The performance of North American Operations was hit by second half catastrophes including Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria and the Californian wildfires. QBE shares fell 3.2% to close at $10.38.

3. Don Meij has confirmed margin loans. Domino’s said: “The company confirms that it considers that at no time has there been a risk of triggering a margin loan associated with the Managing Director.” Domino’s shares were down 2.4% to $40.00.

4. John Croll exits Isentia. He has been running the media monitoring company for almost 20 years. Isentia shares fell 9.9% to close at $1.09.

5. Vocus CEO Geoff Horth is going. He has headed the telco since February 2016, when the merger between Vocus Communications and M2 Group was completed. Vocus shares closed at $2.41, up almost 1.7%.

6. NBN Update. 850,000 households and businesses are about to get faster internet.

7. Warren Buffett’s investing lessons recast for Australian stocks. Buffett’s annual shareholder letter was published over the weekend as part of Berkshire Hathaway’s 2017 annual report.

8. Company culture. 5 ways Australian boards can take responsibility.

9. Cash flowing. The world’s biggest companies paid out more than $US1.25 trillion in dividends in 2017.

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