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

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Australian stocks closed higher.

Today’s scoreboard:

  • ASX200: 5,963.50 +17.83 +0.30%
  • All Ordinaries: 6,044.20 +16.23 +0.27%
  • AUD/USD: 0.7540 -0.0010 -0.13%

The local market picked up, making up Monday’s loses.

Westpac was up 0.25% to $31.90 and BHP 0.4% to $27.23. Macquarie Bank added 1% to $99.46.

Speciality Fashion, the owner of Katies, Rivers and City Chic, was down 2.5% to $0.195 after shareholders delivered a first strike at the AGM against the company’s remuneration report.

Laboratory testing group ALS was down 7.3% to $7.55 after $63 million in writedowns, including $40 million on its coal business. was 2.2% higher at $13.85 after buying the 50.1% it didn’t own in South Korea’s biggest auto classifieds site SK ENCARSALES.COM for $244 million.

GrainCorp was down 4.9% to $8.13 after warning of “challenging times” ahead. However, its full year profit after tax jumped to $125 million from $31 million.

Adventure clothing chain Kathmandu dropped 3.8% to $2.24 after reporting a 1.6% fall in same store sales for the 16 weeks to November 19.

Top stories:

1. THE NUMBERS: Malcolm Turnbull can afford tax cuts because the federal budget is billions ahead of plan. Also read: The Prime Minister says income tax cuts are coming.

2. The march of Amazon. The Australian site just listed kitchen appliances, vacuum cleaners and heaters on its website.

3. Three retailers have downgraded profit guidance. Australian retail is looking increasingly shaky ahead of the imminent arrival of US online giant Amazon.

4. Persistent weakness in wages. The Reserve Bank of Australia minutes of its November monetary policy meeting.

5. Two big problems with the home-lending standards. APRA chief Wayne Byres is concerned banks are underestimating borrower’s living expenses and overall levels of indebtedness.

6. a2 Milk sales jump again. At the company’s AGM, a2 Milk told shareholders revenue was up 68.9% to $NZ262.2 million ($A236 million) compared to the same four months the year before. Its shares were up 5.5% to $7.46.

7. TechnologyOne posted its 8th year of record profit in a row. Australia’s largest enterprise software company reported an 8% lift in full year net profit after tax to $44.49 million. Its shares closed at $5.27, up 0.3%.

8. CHART: Bitcoin versus other major global asset bubbles since 1980.

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