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

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Australian stocks closed higher.

The scoreboard:

  • S&P ASX 200: 5,227.90 +30.35 +0.58%
  • All Ordinaries: 5,311.00 +26.29 +0.50%
  • AUD/USD: 0.7503 -0.0018 -0.24%

The local market returned to positive territory, helped by Wall Street where the S&P 500 closed 0.5% higher overnight and by higher commodity prices.

However, market sentiment was dampened by Standard and Poor’s placing Australia’s AAA rating on credit watch negative.

The major banks at one stage were flat but ended the day mostly stronger. Westpac was up 0.96% to $28.47 but the NAB was down 0.08% to $24.52.

The miners did well, with BHP adding 2% to close at $19.10.,

The top stories Thursday:

1. Negative credit rating watch for Australia. All that debt and all that political uncertainty puts the AAA rating on the table. S&P then took similar action on the big four banks.

2.’s debut on the ASX. Shares in the online retailer slipped back from the $1.80 list price to close at $1.50, a drop of about 16%. Also read: This is Ruslan Kogan’s IPO pay day.

3. Costly gas purchases. AGL Energy today issued an earnings warning, saying it expects the contribution from its gas portfolio to be at least $100 million lower in the 2017 financial year than in 2016.

4. Taking off. Osprey Medical reported record sales of its devices to protect patients from the harmful effects of X-ray dye. cIts shares rose 13.6% to $0.25.

5. A longer wait for a tax return cheque. A technical issue at Medibank is to blame.

6. Greyhound racing is banned in NSW. Tabcorp says NSW greyhound racing represents around 5% of its total wagering turnover. Tabcorp shares closed 4.3% lower at $4.39.

7. The markets. GREG MCKENNA on why markets are starting to feel a lot like 2007.

8. Election 2016. Malcolm Turnbull just got one seat closer to forming government.

9. Construction returns. Almost out of nowhere, Australia’s construction sector is back, expanding strongly in June, according to the latest Performance of Construction Index (PCI) released by the Ai Group.

10. The Archibald Prize. This portrait of MasterChef’s George Calombaris just won the Packing Room Prize.

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