AUSTRALIAN STOCKS RALLY: Here's what you need to know

A jetpack rider performs stunts during the official draw ahead of the Davis Cup World Group First Round tie between Australia and Germany at Riverlife in Brisbane. Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images

Australian stocks closed higher for the second day in a row.

Today’s scoreboard:

  • ASX200: 6,090.10 +52.40 +0.87%
  • All Ordinaries: 6,198.80 +52.30 +0.85%
  • AUD/USD: 0.8043 -0.0012 -0.15%

The local market rallied, after the Federal Reserve kept interest rates on hold in the US, adding to yesterday’s 0.25% rise.

Among the banks, the Commonwealth Bank was 1.45% higher at $80.01 and Westpac 1.49% to $31.42.

BHP was up 1.5% to $30.66 and Qanats also 1.5% to $5.35.

Accounting software group Xero surged 10% to $34.79 after a media report that the NAB was going to allow payments to made from within the cloud accounting platform.

Watttle Health shares were up 10.6% to $2.50 after announcing its first order from Macau for its range of milk powders including its infant Formula range.

Top stories:

1. Building approvals tumble. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, approvals dropped by 20% to 16,8591 in December in seasonally adjusted terms, missing economist forecasts for a decline of 7.6%.

2. Big projects. Transport projects have now replaced mining infrastructure spending in Australia.

3. The APRA inquiry. CBA’s board and senior executives are being grilled about the bank’s culture and risk management.

4. Weak Christmas sales. Godfreys Group reported a sharp drop in earnings and foreshadowed a loss for the half year to December. Its shares fell 16.8% to close at $0.32.

5. How falling property prices could affect Australian bank stocks. P Morgan explains.

6. Malcolm Turnbull. He was the biggest single donor in Australian politics last financial year.

7. Kevin Rudd is suing the ABC. Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has begun legal proceedings against the ABC in the wake of the national broadcaster publishing a story on the Labor government’s home insulation project during the GFC.

8. Australia’s 10 most valuable brands for 2018. Telstra has retained its position for the third year in a row as Australia’s most valuable brand.

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