AUSTRALIAN STOCKS LIFT AGAIN: What you need to know

Sacha Baron Cohen as Borat. John Stanton/WireImage

Shares closed higher on the eve of Australia Day.

Today’s scoreboard:

  • S&P ASX 200: 5,671.50 +21.40 +0.38%
  • All Ordinaries: 5,726.00 +19.69 +0.35%
  • AUD/USD: 0.7539 -0.0043 -0.57%

The local market rallied for a second day, bolstered by gains on Wall Street where the S&P500 gained 0.8% overnight.

The big miners, buoyed by rising metal prices, led the surge with BHP adding 3.2% to $27.89 and Rio Tinto 3.8% to $67.23.

The banks followed, with the ANZ up 1.1% to $29.47 and Westpac 0.3% to $31.77.

The top stories:

1. Inflation softer than expected. Inflationary pressures remained subdued in the final three months of 2016 with both headline and core consumer price inflation (CPI) undershooting market expectations. Also read: What economists are saying.

2. AMP’s startup venture fund is gone. The financial services giant has axed its corporate venture fund, part of a refocus on the core business.

3. The Commonwealth Bank just created the first government bond using blockchain. “A virtual cryptobond” for Queensland Treasury Corporation.

4. Australia’s triple A rating and stable outlook looks safe. Moody’s Investors Service says the country’s future is underpinned by economic resilience in an uncertain world.

5. The Chinese government is about to become Australia’s largest pure-play coal miner. The Chinese state-controlled company Yancoal is becoming the largest pure-play coal miners in Australia by buying Rio Tinto’s mines in the Hunter Valley for $US2.45 billion ($A3.2 billion).

6. 24 things expats find surprising about Australian working culture. Australians have a unique set of business etiquette rules.

7. Inside the secretive Qantas Chairman’s Lounge, Australia’s most exclusive club. It’s been around almost 30 years but many haven’t even heard its name.

8. This what bosses plan for those who chuck a sickie on Friday. An estimated 380,000 Australians will taking an unofficial day off After Australia Day.

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