Photo: Clive Mason/Getty Images

Australian stocks closed higher for the third day this week.

Today’s scoreboard:

  • S&P ASX 200: 5,613.50 +22.43 +0.40%
  • All Ordinaries: 5,662.00 +21.99 +0.39%
  • AUD/USD: 0.7256 -0.0004 -0.06%

The local market smashed through the 5600 point barrier on the ASX200 and kept going, hitting a 16-month high.

The index is up 3.1% so far during this month’s co-called Santa rally.

The big miners led the pack with BHP 1% higher at $25.17 and Rio Tinto 1.4% to 460.12.

The major banks were mixed with the ANZ up 0.6% to $30.30 but the Commonwealth down 0.2% to $82.09.

Software company Touchcorp lost 34% to close at $1.10 after warning that revenue was below expectations.

REA, the operator of, was up 2.5% to $54.65 after selling its European businesses atHome Group and REA Italia, bringing in a profit of $164.8 million.

The top stories:

1. All the way. NBN has announced that about half-a-million premises in Sydney and Melbourne will get fibre all the way to the curb — for a much closer reach than the old default fibre-to-the-node technology.

2. How a Sydney telco harassed its customers. The Federal Court found that Harrison Telecommunications, better known as SoleNet and Sure Telecom, demanded early termination or cancellation fees from customers after transferring them from one company to another without their consent.

3. ASIC investigates whether Slater and Gordon’s falsified its accounts. The corporate watchdog is investigating whether the troubled law firm “deliberately falsified or manipulated” its financial records.

4. Cabcharge gets out of buses. Cabcharge has sold its 49% interest in private bus business ComfortDelGro for $186 million, raising the prospect of a special payout to shareholders. Cabcharge shares closed at $3.89, up 0.5%.

5. About to get better? While the Australian economy just recorded its largest contraction since the global financial crisis last quarter, that’s unlikely to be repeated in the months ahead if the latest Westpac-MI leading index is anything to go by.

6. “The internet will shut down for 24 hours next year.” The dire forecast comes from US technology security vendor LogRhythm.

7. ASIC launches a wider investigation into ASX risk management. The corporate watchdog has decided on a deeper review at the ASX following the equity market outage in September.

8. Bega and a2 Milk distance themselves from Bellamy’s. the two key Australian players in exporting infant formula to China have moved to differentiate themselves from Bellamy’s, which is now in a trading halt after problems with sales.

9. A robot captured rare footage beneath the Antarctic sea ice. Australian scientists attached a camera to a ROV (remotely operated vehicle) deployed under the sea ice at O’Brien Bay, near Casey research station in East Antarctica.

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