AUSTRALIAN STOCKS SLIDE: What you need to know

Australia’s Connor O’Leary at the Billabong Pro Cascais of Surfing at Praia do Guincho in Cascais, Portugal. Gualter Fatia/Getty Images

Australian shares lost ground on the final session of the week.

Today’s scoreboard:

  • S&P ASX 200: 5,435.90 -35.36 -0.65%
  • All Ordinaries: 5,525.10 -33.13 -0.60%
  • AUD/USD: 0.7624 -0.0011 -0.14%

The ASX 200 held itself above the key 5400 level but the local market wound back some of the gains of Thursday to close the week almost flat. The index is down just 4.6 points from Friday’s close a week ago.

Local shares today followed Wall Street where financial stocks — hit by reports some hedge funds had withdrawn cash and positions with Deutsche Bank — dragged the S&P 500 down 0.9%.

On the ASX, the big four banks fell, led by Commonwealth which lost 1.5% to close at $72.40 and Westpac down 1.37% to $29.51.

The stop stories:

1. Woolworths puts its petrol business on the block. The troubled supermarket chain has confirmed it is looking at a sale, reported to be for as much as $1.5 billion. Its shares were down just 0.2% to $23.27.

2. New home sales surge on a big rise in apartments. Housing Industry Association numbers show new home sales jumped by 6.1% following a 9.7% decline in July.

3. Nine Entertainment no longer has a shareholding in its regional affiliate. The network today sold its entire 9.99% holding in Southern Cross Media at a profit of about $30 million. Nine shares were up 8% to $1.055.

4. The science behind the hot stock BrainChip and how it spots bad dealers in casinos. Its shares went on a tear this week when the company announced a deal to provide its machine learning security technology to a large casino in Las Vegas.

5. Annual credit growth to Australian housing investors has fallen to a 7-year low. Private sector credit growth continued to slow in August, according to figures released by the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) earlier today.

6. From Japan with cash. Consulting group Nomura Research Institute is buying Australian IT business solutions provider ASG Group in a $349 million deal.

7. PODCAST: US politics, OPEC’s cut, the bulk commodities rally, new RBA governor Philip Lowe & footy finals.

8. Dieting to live longer. Scientists say the exact opposite of a Paleo diet looks like being the best for a longer life.

9. 1 in 3 Australians secretly check their partner’s phone. This is what that says about your relationship.