AUSTRALIAN STOCKS SLIDE AGAIN: Here's what you need to know

Novak Djokovic of Serbia falls in his fourth round match against Gilles Simon of France at the Australian Open. Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Australian stocks closed down.

Here’s the scoreboard:

  • S&P ASX 200: 4,946.40 -60.16 -1.20%
  • All Ordinaries: 5,000.80 -56.27 -1.11%
  • AUD/USD: 0.7020 +0.0014 +0.20%

Local stocks started sliding again, pushing all sectors lower. The ASX 2000 has lost 6.5% since the start of 2016 and is on track for the worst January since 2008.

Today the Australian market ignored a rally on Wall Street, where the S&P 500 gained 1.4%, and ended a two session rally. The ASX 200 index fell below the key support level of 5000 again.

The major banks led the market downe. The NAB, whose shareholders approved the demeger of its UK business today, dropped more than 3% to $26.90. The ANZ dropped 1.95% to $23.68.

Energy stocks and the big miners also lost ground. BHP closed at $15.01, down 1.77%. Woodsdie Petroleum dropped 1.63% to $25.99.

The top stories for Wednesday:

1. Private equity is sniffing at the business. Greencross is getting takeover offers but none are good enough, yet. Its shares closed 2.9% higher at $7.01.

2. What inflation? Here’s what economists are saying about Australia’s inflation report.

3. Weak growth. The Westpac-MI leading index, a gauge on likely economic activity looking three to nine months ahead, weakened substantially in December.

4. Cash is great. This is how the Future Fund’s investments outperformed the market.

5. Toaster sales. Shares in GUD tanked after the appliance and automotive parts maker wound back its full year earnings guidance following a poor performance from Sunbeam and Dexion brands. GUD shares closed down 9.7% to $7.13.

6. More cuts coming. Oil Search is working on a plan to cut deeper into its costs as falling oil prices continue to eat into profit margins. Oil Search shares dropped 4.6% to close at $5.99.

7. Ditching coal. Rio Tinto is selling its Mount Pleasant thermal coal assets in the Hunter Valley to MACH Energy Australia for $US224 million ($320 million) plus royalties. Rio Tinto was down 2.6% to close at $38.11.

8. Get paid for the adverts. Unlockd, the Australian start-up that offers mobile phone users a discount in exchange for watching ads is launching today in the US with the Sprint-owned Boost Mobile.

9. Death by Powerpoint. Here are 14 simple tips to avoid boring your audience in a presentation.

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