AUSTRALIAN STOCKS RALLY: What you need to know

Australia’s Travis Head after he dismissed Sri Lanka’s Kusal Perera during the fifth and final one day international cricket match in Pallekele. Lakruwan Wanniarachchi/AFP/Getty Images

Australian stocks closed higher.

Today’s scoreboard:

  • S&P ASX 200: 5,429.60 +56.80 +1.06%
  • All Ordinaries: 5,524.40 +53.83 +0.98%
  • AUD/USD: 0.7601 +0.0028 +0.37%

The local market surged, clawing back some of the 2.5% loss of last week, as the ASX 200 climbed back above 5400 points again.

The banks and the big miners both made good gains.

The Commonwealth was up almost 2% to $72.31, Westpac 1.7% to $29.67 and the NAB 1.77% to $27.62.

BHP added 2.4% to $20.34 and Rio Tinto 1.4% to $48.10.

Woodside Petroleum announced it has agreed to buy half of BHP’s Scarborough natural gas assets for up to $400 million. Its shares closed 1.5% higher at $28.51.

The top stories:

1. Warning lights flashing for the economy. There have been some nasty surprises in some key economic data points over recent weeks.

2. The services sector suddenly stalled. After 13 months of constant improvement, activity levels across Australia’s manufacturing sector weakened sharply last month.

3. Housing. The market has peaked and a correction is on the way, according to analysis by CLSA. Also read: Auction clearance rates remain firm, and not just in Sydney and Melbourne.

4. Aged care providers get knocked down. It looks like they won’t be able to continue to charge fees for capital refurbishment.

5. Fighting against dirty tactics. The federal government is strengthening Australia’s competition laws to ensure startups, small businesses and new technologies are protected from cartel-like behaviour from bigger players.

6. Australian managers don’t have what it takes. Companies are making do with mediocre senior executives because they can’t find enough with the right skills to motivate and get the best from staff.

7. Selling via mobile phone. Sprooki, the digital retail engagement startup, has signed on banking heavyweight Bob McKinnon as the startup’s new chairman.

8. A rare baby white whale. Scientists use a drone to captured the first images.

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