AUSTRALIAN STOCKS NOSE AHEAD: Here's what you need to know

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Australian stocks closed higher.

Today’s scoreboard:

  • ASX 200: 5,850.50 +12.10 +0.21%
  • All Ordinaries: 5,882.20 +13.85 +0.24%
  • AUD/USD: 0.7426 +0.0013 +0.18%

The local market followed Wall Street, where the S&P500 added 0.5% overnight, to a positive close.

The biggest drag was NAB, which went ex-dividend, dropping almost 3.5% to close at $31.50. The other big banks added weight with the Commonwealth closing at $82.61, up 0.45%.

The miners surged, with Rio Tinto adding 1.4% to $60.28 and Fortescue Metals 2.3% to $4.82.

Explosives and chemical company Orica fell 3.3% to $18.63 despite posting a 2.7% rise in half year profit to $195.2 million.

Agribusinesses Ruralco was up almost 1% to $3.07 after a 20% lift in underlying profit to a record $13.8 million.

The top stories:

1. A shift in thinking about the nature of modern work. The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) released the minutes from its May meeting.

2. The banks and the levy. Ken Henry is furious and wants a public inquiry into the $6.2 billion bank tax. Also read: How much the banks will have to lift interest rates to make up for the new tax.

3. Hedge fund Elliott says BHP is a chronic underperformer. The activist has raised the stakes in its call for BHP to sell off assets and return capital to shareholders.

4. When will rates rise? The ANZ says the RBA will leave interest rates unchanged deep into 2018.

5. Australia’s shifting taste for soft drinks. CC-Amatil expects its first half underlying net profit after tax to fall as people move away from traditional flavoured fizzy drinks and strong competition in packaged water hits drinks sales. Its shares closed at $9.60, down 0.2%.

6. Flight Centre’s acquisition spree in Europe. The company is taking a minority interest in 3Mundi, a travel and technology company with operations in France, Switzerland and Spain. Its shares added almost 3% to close at $37.03.

7. A free kick from the federal government’s new $1.5 billion a year levy. The big four banks are worried about the advantage to the shadow banking sector and foreign banks operating in Australia.

8. Dropping the Billiton name from BHP. The experts say the move is likely to have positive effect on the brand value of the world’s biggest miner.

9. Shedding nearly 60,000 jobs over the past year. Jobs in the second-largest employer in Australia behind the healthcare sector have fallen sharply over the past 12 months.

10. Parcel delivery service Sendle has hired eBay’s former head of shipping. eCommerce veteran Apurva Chiranewala joins as head of growth.

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