A strong run on Wall Street added almost 2% in value to the Australian market before local stocks dipped again, closing up nearly 1% higher.

In the US, the S&P 500 closed at 2012.88 after the Federal Reserve kept interest rates on hold and indicated a gradual rise next year.

In Australia, the big banks and miners pulled local stocks higher.

The ANZ Bank was up 1.67% to $30.98, the NAB 1.21% to $31.73, Westpac 0.8% to $31.58 and the Commonwealth 0.96% to $81.80.

BHP was up 1.93% to $28.04 and Rio Tinto 2.53% to $54.73. Energy stocks were also up including Woodside Petroleum which was firmer by 3.1% to $36.60 and Sundance Energy up almost 12% to $0.475.

First, the scoreboard:

  • S&P ASX 200: 5,210.80 +48.94 (+0.95%)
  • All Ordinaries: 5,189.70 +49.05 (+0.95%)
  • AUD/USD: 0.8134 +0.0008 (+0.10%)

And the top stories on Thursday:

1. Target missed. A rights issue by Australian media streaming Quickflix to raise $5.7 million to fund investment in content and marketing, ahead of the Netflix move to Australia in March, has failed its target. The renounceable rights offer closed with only $650,814.73 raised. Its shares lost one-third of their value to close at $0.002.

2. Staying at home. Flight Centre downgraded its profit expectations following a fall in Australian holiday bookings. The UK and US businesses are on track for record results this financial year but Australia saw lower than normal bookings in the five months to the end of November. It’s shares lost more than 9% to close at $31.87.

3. Eating the cake and keeping it. Contractor Leighton is holding on to half its services business in a deal with private equity group Apollo Global Management which will bring in $700 million in cash. The 50/50 investment partnership includes Thiess Services and Leighton Contractors Services. Leighton shares were up almost 4% to $21.78.

4. Weaker and weaker. The Australian dollar crashed below 82 US cents.

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