AUSTRALIAN STOCKS SLIDE: What you need to know

Adam Garcia performs Singin’ In The Rain at Her Majesty’s Theatre in Melbourne. Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

Australian stocks close marginally lower.

Here’s the scoreboard:

  • S&P ASX 200: 5,359.30 -12.99 -0.24%
  • All Ordinaries: 5,423.40 -11.39 -0.21%
  • AUD/USD: 0.7331 -0.0045 -0.61%

The local market eased into a negative close with shares losing ground for the first time in a week. The ASX 200 is still up 2% this month.

Commodity prices increased overnight pushing energy stocks higher. Woodside Petroleum was up 2.4% to $27.09 and Santos 5.4% to $4.28.

BHP was up slightly, by 0.22% to $18.59, and Rio Tinto was down 0.24% to $45.90.

The banks were mixed with Westpac going ex-dividend, dropping 3.5% to close at $30.19. The NAB was up 1% to $29.19.

The top stories Thursday:

1. Myer’s strategy could be working. The troubled department store reported improving sales for the latest quarter. Myer shares closed 6.6% higher at$1.20.

2. One commodity is rising. Gold demand just hit an all-time high.

3. The cloud wars revisited. Xero’s revenue is up 67% but it’s still losing money. Also read: Xero is going for $1 billion in revenue. Xero shares were steady at $14.49.

4. Weaker cash flow at AMP. The financial services giant reported net cash flows at $209 million in the first quarter, down 38% from $342 million for the same three months last year. AMP shares were down 5.3% to $5.51.

5. Better profits coming. Aristocrat Leisure expects to report a 66% lift in profit of $183 million for the half-year to March, well ahead of market expectations. Its shares roe 10.5% to $11.59.

6. The housing market. Australians are now building 10,000 apartments every month.

7. The Optus results. This is why the EPL is so important.

8. Nurses win again. The professions Australians trust the most and those we think are dodgy.

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