AUSTRALIAN STOCKS SLIDE, BANKS WHACKED: Here's what you need to know

Photo: Menahem Kahana/AFP/Getty Images

Australian stocks closed lower, hit by a sell-off of the major banks.

Today’s scoreboard:

  • ASX 200: 5,892.30 -58.06 -0.98%
  • All Ordinaries: 5,919.90 -51.54 -0.86%
  • AUD/USD: 0.7488 -0.0047 -0.62%

The ASX200 slumped just below the key 5900 point mark as the local market lost ground for second session, this time weighed down by the major banks.

ANZ led the falls, dropping 2.79% to $31.35. The bank yesterday posted a rise in profits for the half year but net interest margins fell.

The NAB, which fell 2.7% to $33.09 today, reports its half year results tomorrow. Westpac, which dropped 1.89% today to $34.38, releases its results Monday.

Analysts warned that the coming results could be a catalyst for further selling if they show similar earnings weakness to that of the ANZ.

Among the miners, BHP was down 2.3% to $23.21 and Rio Tinto 0.95% to $59.39.

The top stories:

1. Fairfax strips out $30 million in costs. The cuts include the loss of 125 editorial jobs from its major newspapers, the Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and the Australian Financial Review. Also read: Journalists on strike at Fairfax. Its shares were down 0.9% to $1.07.

2. Vocus in profit warning. In a presentation to the Macquarie Australia Conference in Sydney, CEO Geoff Horth downgraded revenue to $1.8 billion from $1.9 billion. The shares fells 27% to close at $2.44.

3. iSentia confirms consensus forecasts. In a presentation to Macquarie Australia Conference, iSentia CEO John Croll confirmed revenue for 2017 is tracking to the consensus estimate of $162 million. iSentia shares close at $1.65, up 13%.

4. Demand for mortgage insurance falls. profits at mortgage insurance group Genworth are being squeezed by a shrinking number of home loans with a high loan-to-value ratio. Genworth shares closed at $3.07, down 4%.

5. Australia just received its first import of legal cannabis. The first two commercial batches of medicinal cannabis have arrived in Perth and Melbourne from Canada.

6. QBE will invest $50 million in insurance tech startups this year. The established insurance player has the answer to the threat of disruption from technology-driven startups — buy into them.

7. Startup Plutus Payroll. “We’re not heading to a collapse.” Tech contractors will get their money.

8. NBN has quadrupled its users on pay-TV cable. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission released its latest quarterly wholesale numbers on NBN signups.

9. The 24 Australian private schools facing funding cuts. Fairfax Media revealed the schools on the chopping block based on the latest Department of Education data.

10. Domino’s just gave geeks the ultimate access pass. All the big moments in the short life of a Domino’s pizza from the oven to the front door can now be marked in endless entertaining ways.

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