AUSTRALIAN STOCKS NUDGE HIGHER: Here's what you need to know

A mountain bike rider goes over a jump during a practice session for the Red Bull Rampage in Virgin, Utah. Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Australian stocks closed higher.

Today’s scoreboard:

  • ASX 200: 5,821.40 +17.39 +0.30%
  • All Ordinaries: 5,854.40 +14.48 +0.25%
  • AUD/USD: 0.7508 +0.0010 +0.13%

The local market picked up, keeping its nose above yesterday’s close and breaking a four-day downward run, despite slippage on Wall Street where the S&P500 closed down 0.2%.

The modest gains were driven by the banks. This was largely offset by falls among the miners.

The ANZ Bank was 1.2% higher at $31.54 and the NAB 0.8% to $32.75.

BHP dropped 1.1% to $23.65 and Fortescue Metals 1.1% to $5.18.

The top stories:

1. IT’S OFFICIAL. Amazon is taking on retailing in Australia with a ‘vast selection’ and ‘fast delivery’. Also read: Shares of retailers vulnerable to Amazon took a hit.

2. Amazon still has some huge challenges to overcome to build its business in Australia. First it has to find a fulfillment centre and that’s not as easy as it sounds.

3. The number of delinquent housing loans have fallen unexpectedly. Standard & Poor’s detected a sudden fall in problem mortgages in February, a month when delinquencies usually rise.

4. Spending levels are accelerating again. The value of credit and debit card transactions processed through Commonwealth Bank terminals jumped by 0.6%, the largest increase in 15 months.

5. Virgin Australia switches on its inflight wifi. The airline kicked off a three-month testing trial on a single Boeing 737-800 plane today.

6. James Packer sells his stake in RatPac. This is the film business he co-founded with Hollywood producer and director, Brett Ratner, four years ago.

7. Just what are “Australian values”? People are taking to social media to figure out just what Malcom Turnbull means. Also read: Here are all the changes being made to Australia’s citizenship test.

8. Choosing the gender of a baby. The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) today announced that “sex-selection for non-medical purposes is not currently supported” in Australia.

9. Stealing your banking details and withdrawing money. A terrifying flashlight app for Android phones.

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