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

James Faulkner of Australia during the One Day International match between New Zealand and Australia in Auckland. Hannah Peters/Getty Images

Stocks surged higher.

Here’s the scoreboard:

  • S&P ASX 200: 4,980.40 +103.64 +2.13%
  • All Ordinaries: 5,029.30 +98.54 +2.00%
  • AUD/USD: 0.7172 +0.0006 +0.08%

The local market soared on the back of a positive Wall Street and an almost 10% rise in oil prices, clawing back the 2.3% fall of Wednesday, almost balancing the losses of one session against the gains of the other.

The market, however, is still down almost 6% since the start of 2016.

Today eight out of ten sectors were higher, led by energy stocks which gained about 6% as a group. Woodside Petroleum was 5.8% higher at $27.14 and Santos 13.3% at $3.14.

BHP went on a tear on the back of commodity gains, up 8.2% to $15.44. Rio Tinto also added 8.9% to $40.33 and South32 was 14.2% higher at $1.085 after announcing a major restructure, including 600 jobs losses and $1.2 billion in writedowns.

The major banks were running higher with Westpac up 3.5% to $30.48 and the ANZ 2.6% to $24.30.

The top stories for Thursday:

1. Investors aren’t impressed. Macquarie bank is on track to a record full year profit nearing $2 billion. However, its shares lost almost 5% to close at $64.86.

2. Condom sales. Ansell has cut its full year earnings guidance after a fall in sales. Ansell clsoed more than 20% lower at $14.80.

3. Out of gas. AGL, one of Australia’s biggest electricity generators and retailers, has decided that gas production and exploration are no longer a part of its core business because of volatility in commodity prices and long development lead times. AGL closed more than 2% higher at $18.91.

4. Dirty money talk. The cost of fighting court action for non compliance of anti money laundering rules and of launching a new business in the UK have taken a toll on Tabcorp’s profits. Its shares lost 2.8% to close at $4.39.

5. Downgrade again. Downer EDI cut its full year profit forecast as a weak mining business and intense competition cut further into the engineering group. Its shares closed 8.8% higher at $3.21.

6. Underpaid for annual leave. Dick Smith receiver Ferrier Hodgson has announced big changes to the struggling electronic retailer’s support office, a new CFO and news that employees have been underpaid.

7. Goldman Sachs The three challenges facing the Australian economy in 2016.

8. Freight lines. Activity in key transport lines is slowing, and it’s a worrying sign for the global economy.

9. Boring Sydney. Matt Barrie, CEO of Freelancer.com, has taken a massive swing at the New South Wales government and Sydney’s lockout laws, arguing they have destroyed the soul of the nation’s biggest city.

10. Flying and eating higher. Qantas is moving into the gourmet deli business.

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