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

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The Australian market rallied for the 11th session in a row, carried by news of further monetary easing in China and shrugging off more falls in oil prices.

Here’s the scoreboard:

  • S&P ASX 200: 5,811.20 +33.86 (+0.59%)
  • All Ordinaries: 5,765.20 +31.49 (+0.55%)
  • AUD/USD: 0.7773 +0.0021 (+0.27%)

Eleven straight positive days equals the all-time record set in 2003 for the ASX 200, which started as an index in 2000, says market strategist David Scutt.

The market has gained about 9.5% in value over the last 11 trading days.

The People’s Bank of China eased policy once again as it tries to reignite the economy, the price of West Texas Intermediate crude oil crashed back below $US49 a barrel and Wall Street was weaker with the S&P 500 down 0.4%.

On the ASX, the banks carried the market, offsetting losses in the energy sector. The Commonwealth Bank hit a new record price and closed at $93.27, up 2.73% on the day, as did Westpac at $36.44, up 0.58%.

The miners suffered with BHP down almost 2% to $31.36 and Fortescue Metals losing 2.71% to $2.51.

The top stories on Thursday:

1. Australian retail sales disappoint, which means consumption is weak despite a lower cost of living.

2. REA Group has increased site visits for realestate.com.au and realcommercial.com.au and lifted half year profits 34% to $95 million. Revenue was up 25% to $261.5 million for the six months to December. Its shares lost 4% to close at $1.97.

3. Downer EDI’s profit slipped by 4.4% to $94.7 million for the half year to December on the back of weakening work servicing the mining industry. The result is slightly ahead of market expectations of $95 million. Its shares closed down 0.89% to $4.45.

4. Home lending helped the National Australia Bank increas cash profit 6% to $1.65 billion in the first quarter of its financial year. Net profit was $1.8 billion compared to $1.4 billion. Its shares closed up 1.29% to $36.97.

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