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

The final dress rehearsal of The Nose at Sydney Opera House. Don Arnold/WireImage

Australian stocks closed marginally higher.

Today’s scoreboard:

  • ASX200: 5,950.90 +7.20 +0.12%
  • All Ordinaries: 6,057.70 +10.40 +0.17%
  • AUD/USD: 0.7805 +0.0001 +0.01%

The local market edged ahead with the banks in the green and BHP 1.2% higher at $30.17.

A flood of half year results swept the market.

Billionaire James Packer’s Crown Resorts added 4.4% to close at $13.08 after posting a 33.6% rise in profit to $238.59 million for the half year. VIP program play turnover was up 15.9% to $22.6 billion.

Financial services group Perpetual was up 1.9% to $53.89 after posting a 3% rise in profit to $68.1 million.

Shares in buy-now, pay-later fintech startup Afterpay Touch were up 1.9% to $7.57 after posting an after tax losst of $0.7 million. Revenue was $49.9 million, up 732%.

Specialty Fashion Group — the owner of Millers, Katies, Crossroads, Autograph, City Chic and Rivers – fell 8.7% to $0.26 after posting a 74% fall in profit to $3.1 million. Revenue fell 7% to $398.95 million.

Top stories:

1. Qantas posts a record profit. The underlying profit before tax of $976 million for the six months to December was the airline’s highest and a 14.6% increase on the same period last year. Qantas shares jumped as high as 9% before closing at $5.58, up 5.8%.

2. The growth secret of Kogan.com. A stats business masquerading as a retailer. Also read: Kogan.com’s results. Its shares jumped 18.9% to close at $8.60.

3. Leveraging a technology platform. Webjet posted half year results showing a 290% rise in revenue to $359.8 million. Its shares rose 16% to $12.01.

4. Shrugging off a weak advertising market. Nine Entertainment posted a 55% rise in profit to $116.17 million for the first half of 2018. Its shares jumped 16.2% to close at $1.97.

5. Australian revenue slips for Blackmores. But profit for the six months to December was up 20% to $34.18 million and revenue 9.3% to $287.38 million. Blackmores shares slipped 14.9% to close at $136.22.

6. New data breach rules. Australian businesses now must report any data breach with the potential to harm people.

7. Flight Centre upgrades its profit forecasts. The travel agent reported a profit before tax of $139.4 million for the six months to December 2017, up 23.2% from the same time last year. Flight Centre shares closed at $55.26, up 10.3%.

8. Full-time workers in the ACT earn the most. Average pre-tax weekly earnings for Australian workers grew by 2.4% in the year to November.

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