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Australian stocks closed marginally higher.

Today’s scoreboard:

  • S&P ASX 200: 5,561.70 +7.93 +0.14%
  • All Ordinaries: 5,653.60 +6.47 +0.11%
  • AUD/USD: 0.7592 -0.0023 -0.30%

The local market cruised to a steady close, the ASX 200 adding just under 8 points but keeping well above the key 5550 point level.

The banks and the big miners were all ahead but Telstra dropped 3.4% to $5.30.

Westpac was 1.1% higher at $30.75, BHP up 1.6% to $21.42 and Rio Tinto $1.5% to $49.82.

The top stories:

1. Woolworths shuts Masters, sells the property. 7700 jobs are on the line as Woolworths exits its home improvement division.

2. Writedowns on Target stores and coal assets. Wesfarmers, Australia’s biggest private employer, posted a 83% fall in full year profit to $407 million. Its shares closed down 2% to $42.63.

3. Woolworths sells Home Timber & Hardware Group. Metcash is buying to create a combined hardware chain with turnover of $2 billion and a national network of 1800 stores.

4. A record $1.5 billion profit for Qantas. Qantas posted a record full year underlying profit of $1.53 billion, a 57% improvement, completing one of Australia’s biggest corporate turnarounds. Also read: Thousands of Qantas staff will get up to a $3000 bonus. And: Qantas is trying to manage these mega-trends that could apply to any startup. Qantas shares gained 1.4% to close at $3.45.

5. Soft sales ahead. Blackmores posted a record full year profit of $100 million, up 115%, but warned of about the current quarter. Its shares lost almost 20% to close at $129.50.

6. A 414% rise in sales of baby formula. The a2 Milk Company today posted a full year profit of $NZ30.44 million, overturning a $NZ2.1 million loss in 2015, on strong sales of its Platinum infant formula in China. Its shares dropped 6.4% to close at $2.05.

7. John McGrath steps aside. He is shifting his role away from the operational activities of the ASX-listed real estate company he founded. Its shares added 5.8% to close at $1.185.

8. Here’s where all the job are. A table from the Department of Employment breaks down the occupational groups and by state and territory.

9. Markets have been eerily quiet. This is where investors have been parking their money so far in 2016.

10. Slater and Gordon’s losses are narrowing. But it will still post a full year loss of $1.017 billion. Its shares dropped 10% today to close at $0.515.

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