AUSTRALIAN STOCKS NUDGE HIGHER: What you need to know

Argentine Mini’s pilot Orlando Terranova and co-pilot Andreas Schulz of Germany during the 2017 Dakar Rally. Franck Fife/AFP/Getty Images

Australian shares closed higher.

Today’s scoreboard:

  • S&P ASX 200: 5,753.30 +16.89 +0.29%
  • All Ordinaries: 5,805.10 +16.87 +0.29%
  • AUD/USD: 0.7317 +0.0035 +0.48%

The local market followed Wall Street where the S&P500 added 0.6% overnight.

The major banks and financial stocks led the market, with NAB up 0.9% to $31.49 and AMP 1.1% to $5.24.

The Lucapa Diamond company was up almost 6% to $0.445 after a trading update showed the miner had sold $US14.6 million in diamonds during the December quarter. This brought the average price per carat sold in 2016 to $US2983, the highest of any diamond mine int the world in 2016.

The top stories:

1. Freelancer and Airtasker in a punch up. A behind-the-scenes legal brawl over who owns the idea behind the “Like a Boss” marketing campaign.

2. Macquarie Bank heads the investment bank fee league tables. Australia investment banking revenue fell for the second year in a row, by 13% to $1.6 billion in 2016, according to final numbers by analysts Dealogic.

3. Australia’s services sector expanded at the fastest pace in nearly a decade. The latest Performance of Services Indicator (PSI) released by the Ai Group jumped by a whopping 6.6 points to 57.7, leaving it at the highest level seen since May 2007.

4. Australians worry about their skills being outdated. According to a survey by job site Indeed of 1000 people actively looking for work, 31% were worried their skills would be outdated and only 12% were concerned about immigration bringing greater competition for jobs.

5. Australia falls behind Kenya, Romania and Thailand in broadband speed. Australia is 50th in the latest quarterly broadband speed rankings.

6. A very large diamond has been discovered in the Northern Territory. Australia’s fifth largest diamond has been discovered at the Merlin diamond mine about 80km south of Borroloola near the Gulf of Carpentaria.

7. Goldman Sachs’ top trade recommendations for 2017. Its latest for the year ahead, encompassing everything from currency to emerging market trades, commodities to interest rates, to whet the appetite of investors.

8. Does Mark Zuckerberg wants to serve in government? Lately, he’s been acting more like a statesman than a tech CEO.

9. How to keep your New Year’s resolutions, according to a behaviourist. New Year’s resolutions are about trying to break habits, which is hard, but not impossible, to do.

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