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

Photo: Scott Barbour/AFL Media

Australian shares closed lower.

Today’s scoreboard:

  • ASX 200: 5,687.40 -68.07 (-1.18%)
  • All Ordinaries: 5,738.10 -62.66 (-1.08%)
  • AUD/USD: 0.7921 +0.0119 (+1.53%)

The ASX200 dipped below the key 5700 mark in today’s session, following flat trading on Wall Street overnight.

Australian shares were caught up in a dip across Asian markets, after the US dollar fell on news that the passage healthcare legislation would be delayed indefinitely.

Following the release of minutes from the Reserve Bank of Australia’s July meeting which were considered more optimistic, the AUD got a further a boost and is currently trading above US79 cents.

The major banks again led the fall. National Australia Bank led the majors lower, finishing down 1.92%. Each of the big 4 banks was down more than 1% and the ASX200 financials index was 1.7% lower

Regional banks were hardest hit, with Suncorp was 2.7% lower while Bendigo & Adelaide Bank lost more than 2%.

The ASX200 energy index was down 1.2% and the materials sector was 0.8% lower.

Among the big miners, Rio Tinto finished 1.4% lower while BHP was down 0.48%, while Fortescue closed flat after iron ore spot prices rose overnight.

Other notable falls were from Wesfarmers, which fell by 1.8% while Woodside Petroleum was more than 2% lower.

Top stories:

1. RBA stays positive: Minutes from the Reserve Bank’s July meeting revealed a relatively optimistic view towards the state of the Australian economy. We’ve collated the views of leading Australian economists on the RBA’s economic outlook here.

2. Aussie dollar charges ahead: Combined with political gridlock in the US which weighed on the US dollar, the RBA’s optimistic outlook sent the Australian dollar surging above US79 cents for the first time since April 2015.

3. A new Home Affairs super ministry. ASIO, AFP and Australian Border Force will all report directly to the Home Affairs minister.

4. Bank executives might be in line for bigger base pays. A reaction to the federal government’s moves to restrict bonuses.

5. Disaster for the Greens: Larissa Waters became the second senator from the Greens to resign within a week, after it was revealed that she has dual Australian-Canadian citizenship.

6. Gen Z is about to enter the Australian workforce. Here’s what you need to know.

7. Construction group CIMIC blitzed its half year profits. The former Leighton today posted a 22% lift in half year profits to $322.9 million and announced a 25% increase in dividends.

8. The toll tunnel to Sydney’s northern beaches could cost as much as $1 billion a kilometre. The NSW government’s plan to build a 14-kilometre tunnel connecting Sydney’s inner west to the northern beaches could cost as much as $14 billion.

9. The real reason supermarkets are getting rid of plastic bags. And it has has litlle to do with the environment.

10. Rio Tinto’s Pilbara iron ore shipments are slipping. The mining giantsees weaker iron ore shipments for the full year from the Pilbara in Western Australia after bad weather.