AUSTRALIAN STOCKS LIFT AGAIN: Here's what you need to know

Yasin Akgul/AFP/Getty Images

Australian stocks closed higher.

Today’s scoreboard:

  • ASX 200: 5,746.40 +33.25 +0.58%
  • All Ordinaries: 5,806.40 +31.34 +0.54%
  • AUD/USD: 0.8023 -0.0004 -0.05%

The local market surged to a positive close for the second session in a row. Overnight, Wall Street hit another record, with the S&P500 adding 1.1%.

The major banks led the charge, with the Commonwealth adding 2.2% to close at $75.92, the ANZ 1.4% to $29.90 and Westpac 1% to $31.65.

Macquarie Group was up 2.2% to $87.10, putting the bank more than 5% higher since Friday’s close.

Among the miners Rio Tinto was 1.8% higher at $68.80 and BHP 1.1% to $27.12.

CIMIC, trading ex-dividend, was down 1.8% to $42.56.

Top stories:

1. It looks like Australian wage growth is about to turn the corner. Business conditions are stronger than at any point since the global financial crisis, according to the latest National Australia Bank business survey. Also read: Higher costs are weighing on business confidence.

2. Slater and Gordon plans to cut staff and costs. The law firm, now owned by hedge funds, has completed a strategic review. Its shares were up 1.4% to $0.07.

3. A block of 14.66% of real estate agency McGrath shares were sold. A group of former real estate agents from McGrath had pooled their shares in the ASX-listed company when they came out of escrow last week. McGrath shares fell 7.5% to close at $0.67.

4. QBE’s John Neal is going. He is stepping down after five years as CEO of Australia’s biggest insurance company. QBE shares close at $10.50, up 2.5%.

5. Director identification numbers are coming. Making it harder for for phoenix companies to rise from the ashes.

6. Shopping through gritted teeth. Deloitte Access Economics’ latest Retail Forecasts report.

7. An agritech startup helping US potato farmers just listed on the ASX. CropLogic raised the $8 million at 20 cents a share.

8. Australia just fast-tracked the start of 5G mobile networks. The Australian Communications and Media Authority has proposed accelerating the process for allowing telcos to eventually build 5G.

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