AUSTRALIAN STOCKS NOSE AHEAD: What you need to know

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Australian stocks closed higher.

Today’s scoreboard:

  • ASX 200: 5,708.00 +23.49 +0.41%
  • All Ordinaries: 5,754.00 +22.04 +0.38%
  • AUD/USD: 0.7663 -0.0014 -0.18%

The local market added a little weight after Wednesday’s 1.56% fall, the largest one day dip of the year, sparked by uncertainty of over the Trump administration’s ability to deliver reforms.

Trading was subdued ahead of a vote in the US to repeal Obamacare.

The big miners picked up with BHP adding 1.1% to $24.19.

The banks were mostly above water with the Commonwealth up 0.2% to $82.95 and Westpac down 0.15% to $33.44.

Brickworks posted a half year after tax profit of $104.1 million, up 35.4%. Its shares were steady at $13.77, just 0.07% higher.

Medical cannabis company Zelda Therapeutics shares added 3.6% to $0.084 after announcing two new clinical trials in Chile.

And Sigma Pharmaceuticals was up 2.5% to $1.23 after posting a 5% rise in full year profit to $53.2 million.

The top Stories:

1. Square Peg just raised $235 million for its fund. It says Australia’s startup scene now holds its own fate in its hands.

2. The black market in Qantas lounge passes. Qantas has effectively put a block on the underground trade by switching to digital and scrapping paper.

3. Collins Foods is accelerating the expansion of its KFC empire. The Australian company is buying a chain of KFC restaurants in the Netherlands for €62.3 million ($A87 million).

4. ASIC’s investigation into CommInsure. The corporate regulator found no evidence that the Commonwealth Bank’s insurance arm pressured doctors to change their opinions so that claims could be denied.

5. Soul Pattinson just posted a record profit on rising coal prices. The company, which has its beginnings as a chemist shop in Pitt Street, Sydney, in 1872, today posted a 56.1% increase to $149 million in net profit after tax for the six months to January. Its shares closed 4% higher at $17.41.

6. An Australian crystal ball fintech startup. International venture capital firm Sapien Ventures has led a $1.5 million series A funding round for Investfit.

7. Australia’s new crowdfunding for equity. Here’s how it could work.

8. As good as it gets. Macquarie cuts its view on Australian mining stocks to neutral.

9. Immigration hits a 4-year high. Australia’s population rose to 24.22 million in September last year, according to data released by the ABS this morning.

10. Expensive houses, and living costs. Sydney and Melbourne are now ranked among the world’s most expensive to live in.

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