Image: Mauricio Santana / Getty

Australian stocks closed higher.

Here’s the scoreboard:

  • S&P ASX 200: 5,216.00 +27.19 +0.52%
  • All Ordinaries: 5,281.20 +26.54 +0.51%
  • AUD/USD: 0.7781 -0.0032 -0.41%

The local market continued to climb, ending the day 2.6% higher than at the start of the month. The ASX 200 is now just 1.5% down on the start of 2016.

The big miners rallied for a second day with BHP at $20.34, up another 3.4%, and Rio Tinto 4% higher at $51.30.

Woodside Petroleum closed 1.5% down to $26.40 after posting quarterly sales down 30% to $US982 million.

The major banks were mixed with Westpac up 0.69% to $30.76 and the ANZ down 0.67% to $23.00.

The top stories Wednesday:

1. ASIC is the winner. The corporate watchdog is getting $127 million in extra funding so it can investigate misconduct in the banks. And the banks get to pay for it.

2. The iron ore mountain. The fatal mine disaster in Brazil, poor weather in Australia and maintenance on the rail network have dragged on BHP’s iron ore output.

3. The debt iceberg. The ratings agency Moody’s says subdued commodity prices are limiting tax revenue and the chances of cutting government debt quickly.

4. ANZ research shrinks. The bank is making redundant 40% of the 70 roles at its research department.

5. Unethical behaviour. More than one in four Australian executives believe bribery and corrupt practices are more widespread now than two years ago.

6. The economy. Westpac’s leading index suggests economic growth could slow sharply later this year.

7. A $20 million gift. Philanthropist James Fairfax, the 83-year-old great grandson of newspaper founder James Fairfax, has donated his historic family home in rural New South Wales to the National Trust.

8. The differences. The biggest cultural differences between companies in Australia and Asia, according to an Asia Pacific executive.

9. Ouch! A South Australian council may ban cricket balls in parks because someone might get hurt.