AUSTRALIAN STOCKS NOSE AHEAD: What you need to know

Holler enjoys a roll in the sand after trackwork at Werribee Racecourse in Melbourne. Vince Caligiuri/Getty Images

Australian shares closed marginally higher, again.

Today’s scoreboard:

  • S&P ASX 200: 5,479.80 +4.37 +0.08%
  • All Ordinaries: 5,562.20 +6.75 +0.12%
  • AUD/USD: 0.7558 -0.0050 -0.66%

The local market is sitting near five week highs but the ASX 200 just can’t break through the 5500 mark. The index is just 0.8% higher so far this month.

BHP, adding 1.7% to close at $23.80, and the other big miners kept the market above water.

Energy stocks also did well with rising oil prices. Santos was up 3.9% to $3.94 and Woodside Petroleum 0.7% to $30.05.

Westpac was down 0.3% to $30.66 and the Commonwealth lost just 0.01% to $74.61.

The top stories:

1. There goes the bonus. Telstra cut millions of dollars in incentive payments to its senior executives because of the network outages.

2. The plebiscite on same-sex marriage is dead. Labor has officially announced it won’t support the plebiscite, which means there’s not sufficient support on the Senate crossbenches to carry it.

3. The NSW greyhound racing industry has been resurrected. Premier Mike Baird has just caved on his greyhound racing ban. Also read: We got it wrong.

4. Innovation is not done by people in white coats. Martin Parkinson, the secretary of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, tackled the topic in a speech to CEDA.

5. More expansion offshore. Unlockd, the startup telco which rewards mobile phone customers for watching advertisements, is raising $US30 million ($A39 million).

6. No oil drilling in the Great Australian Bight. BP has abandoned an exploration drilling program off South Australia’s west coast.

7. Home loan lending dips. Whether measured in dollar value or in the number of loans written, home loan lending in Australia fell modestly in August. Except for housing investors, that is.

8. How guilt and envy play into happiness. The scientists who developed a neat equation to predict happiness, highlighting the importance of expectations, have a new, improved formula.

9. Those creepy clowns. This probably won’t be the last creepy clown story you’ll read, but it sure as hell should be.

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