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

Matt Cardy/Getty Images

Australian stocks closed lower.

Here’s the scoreboard:

  • S&P ASX 200: 5,378.60 -29.42 -0.54%
  • All Ordinaries: 5,447.80 -25.76 -0.47%
  • AUD/USD: 0.7246 +0.0063 +0.88%

The ASX 200 index slipped below 5400 but the Australian dollar jumped back above 72 US cents after official numbers showed an unexpected rise in net exports.

The local market is up 2.4% for the month with one trading day left in May.

Today the major banks all lost ground with the Commonwealth down almost 1% to $77.43 and the ANZ 0.8% to $25.48.

BHP dropped 0.8% to $19.08 and Woodside Petroleum 2.4% to $27.40.

The top stories Tuesday:

1. Virgin Australia’s China deal. HNA Aviation Group, China’s largest private airline operator, is taking a 13% stake in Australia’s second largest airline. Virgin shares closed 7% higher at $0.30.
Also read: The Chinese company buying into Virgin can give a few lessons in service.

2. Australia’s most profitable supermarket. Aldi has hit a tipping point and is poised to hurt the major supermarkets. Woolworths closed down 1.2% to $22.12 and Wesfarmers (Coles) 2% to $40.63. But Metcash (IGA) added almost 1% to close at $2.05.

3. Australian GDP looks like it will be a show-stopper. Net exports are expected to contribute an enormous 1.1 percentage points to growth for the quarter.

4. The selling starts in July. This is what the administrator of Arrium needs to get the business ready for sale.

5. Underpaying its staff. Coles is on the hook for millions in payouts after a devastating ruling on its union pay deal.

6. Get that upgrade to business class. This startup, which lets people bid for airplane seat upgrades, has secured $1.2 million.

7. The risks of a cannibalisation strategy. Here’s why people are ditching Target for Kmart.

8. Transition to retirement. Julie Bishop unexpectedly revealed a big problem with the government’s superannuation changes.

9. The property game. Australia’s residential building boom is showing few signs of easing up.

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