AUSTRALIAN STOCKS RISE: Here’s what you need to know

Image: Dominic Barnardt / Gallo Images / Getty Images.

Australian shares closed higher for the second day in a row.

Today’s scoreboard:

ASX 200: 5,761.50 +29.37 (+0.51%)
All Ordinaries: 5,805.70 +26.33 (+0.46%)
AUD/USD: 0.7920 -0.0036 (-0.45%)

It was another good day for the major banks, following yesterday’s announcement by APRA on minimum capital requirements.

The market assessed that APRA took it relatively easy on the banks, with lingering doubts about minimum capital levels now put to rest.

ANZ and Westpac were both more than 2% higher, leading the ASX financials index to a 1.25% gain for the session.

The regional lenders gave back some of yesterdays gains, with Suncorp, Bendigo & Adelaide Bank and Bank of Queensland all finishing lower. Macquarie fell by 1.36%.

Among the big miners, BHP rose by 0.62% while Rio fell slightly. Fortescue dipped by 3.5% in afternoon trade after the announcement this afternoon that the Federal Court had ruled against it in a native title dispute.

The ASX200 energy index rose by 1.4%, led by Santos which surged ahead by 8% after announcing lower debt, improved cost cutting measures and upgrading revenue guidance in its quarterly report today.

The biggest fall on the day was from Myer, which crashed by more than 10% after announcing that its deputy CEO would leave the company along with a profit downgrade.

The Australian dollar reached a high this morning above US79.8 cents before finding resistance following the release of the June employment report this morning.

Although the jobs report met expectations, mild selling of the AUD has continued this afternoon as UK markets open and the AUD is currently tracking back towards US79 cents.

Top stories:

1. Employment streak hits 9: 9 straight months of net employment growth in Australia, as per today’s June employment figures from the ABS. It’s the best such streak since 2011.

2. This is a new site: Amazon is on its way to Australia, and it looks like the first retail operations centre will be situated in the outer-Melbourne suburb of Dandenong.

3. Bitcoin could keep going higher: That’s according to Goldman Sachs, with the bank forecasting that Bitcoin could rise past $US3,000. It currently trades at around $US2,340.

4. Andrew Forrest’s Fortescue just lost a big legal battle: It involved a dispute over native title rights at Fortescue’s Solomon mine in Western Australia’s Pilbara region, with the Federal Court Federal Court upholding exclusive rights to the Yindjibandi people.

5. Bank of Japan holds steady: The Bank of Japan made its monthly interest rate announcement this afternoon, but there were no changes to its current stance of ultra-easy monetary policy.

6. Fishburners CEO quits: The CEO of startup community facilitator Fishburners, Murray Hurps, has quit effective from next Monday. Hurps said that after securing new hubs in Brisbane, Shanghai and Sydney, the time is right to move on.