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Australian stocks closed the session, and the week, marginally lower.

Today’s scoreboard:

  • ASX 200: 5,862.50 +6.21 +0.11%
  • All Ordinaries: 5,902.60 +5.28 +0.09%
  • AUD/USD: 0.7523 -0.0023 -0.30%

The local market fell after the US launched cruise missiles at Assad regime airfields over the Syrian chemical attack.

The ASX200 had been tracking higher when it dropped 40 points. The index is down just 0.2% for the week.

The big miners went into the red. Rio Tinto lost 1.1% to $60.01 and Fortescue 3% to $6.11.

The NAB dropped 0.37% to $32.48 but Westpac and the ANZ just managed a positive close.

Woodside Petroleum was up 1.2% to $32.97 after crude oil prices surged on the back of the cruise missile strike.

Gold miners, the traditional haven for troubled times, were also higher. Northern Star added 5.5% to $4.54.

And travel agent network Helloworld was up 6.6% to $4.00 after upgrading its earnings guidance.

The top stories:

1. MALCOLM TURNBULL: US missile strike on Syria was a swift and just response.

2. The retail crunch has hit the Reject Shop. It now expects to report an operating loss in the second half of at least $5 million. Its shares dropped 35% to close at $5.11.

3. Companies with women on their boards make more money. Analysis of Australia’s smaller ASX-listed companies show that those with women on their boards pull in more revenue than the rest.

3. You’re unlikely to get a pay rise any time soon. The latest “Wage Gauge” report from economists at ANZ is unlikely to provide comfort to those hoping for a quick turnaround in wages growth.

4. Linking executive pay to just hard financial targets may only encourage bad behaviour. Shareholders have been pushing back against soft targets being linked to senior executive bonuses.

5. The exact moment Australians caught the property bug. A UBS research note, Housing Bubble Watch, provides historical perspective on the growth of household mortgage debt.

6. The decline in Australian apartment construction is gathering pace. The Ai Group’s Performance of Construction Index (PCI) came in at 51.2, a decrease of 1.9 points on a month earlier.

7. The ACCC will be monitoring the speed of your NBN connection. Monitoring will begin next month with statistics starting to be published in the second half of this year.

8. How despair with the Abbott government inspired a fintech startup. Tom Culver, then a wealth manager for ANZ, distinctly remembers the moment when he lost faith in governments.

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