AUSTRALIAN STOCKS RISE, FINALLY: Here's what you need to know

Benjamin Mitchell of Australia plays a forehand in his match against Darian King of Barbados during round one of 2016 Australian Open Qualifying at Melbourne Park. Scott Barbour/Getty Images

Australian stocks finally ended higher.

Here’s the scoreboard:

  • S&P ASX 200: 4,987.40 +62.27 +1.26%
  • All Ordinaries: 5,041.60 +59.45 +1.19%
  • AUD/USD: 0.7024 +0.0038 +0.54%

The Australian market broke through an eight session negative run to record the first rise of 2016.

The day ended with nine out of ten sectors were higher, led by energy stocks which rose more than 2% as a group.

The local rally, helped by a higher Wall Street with the S&P 500 up 0.8%, accelerated after trade data from China came in stronger than expected.

The major banks led the rally with Westpac up 2.17% to $31.49 and Commonwealth 2.03% to $81.00.

BHP dropped below $15 a share, losing another 1.6% to close at $14.77. But other miners did well, including Santos which gained 5.4% to close at $3.11 and Rio Tinto which was up 1% to $39.55.

CIMIC, which today made a $243 million takeover bid for Queensland engineers Sedgman, closed 3.4% higher at $23.25. But Sedgman added 35% to close at $1.07, the CIMIC offer price.

The cleaning, catering and laundry company Spotless added more than 15% to $1.095. There were no public announcements but there has been speculation of interest from a private equity group. The share price has been suppressed following a profit warning.

The top stories for Wednesday:

1. Missing a trend. Godfreys, Australia’s retail experts in vacuum cleaners, missed the move by consumers from barrel vacuum cleaners to stickvacs. And this has crushed the retailer’s profit outlook. The shares lost 28% to close at $1.14.

2. Another bestseller? The new infant formula from Blackmores is about to be released. Its shares closed 1.25% down at $199.64.

3. “Sell (mostly) everything.” The Royal Bank of Scotland note the whole financial world is talking about. And read: RBS has an ominous warning for anyone who thinks it’s time to buy stocks.

4. Online plays. News Corp spent $40 million on a 25% stake in hipages, the tradie marketplace.

5. More jobs. Vacancies across Australia continued to rise in the three months to November, adding to signs of continued improvement in the labour market.

6. More, please. The startup industry’s new year resolution should be to stop asking for taxpayers’ money.

7. The word from Gerard Minack. One of Wall Street’s most renowned market strategists who is a notorious bear has laid out a case for buying global stocks in the tumultuous first half of 2016.

8. That $2 billion lottery in the US. Here’s why winning won’t solve all your problems. But if you still want a ticket, you can buy one from Australia.

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