AUSTRALIAN STOCKS SLIDE: What you need to know

A celebrity mud flight in Sydney’s Centennial Park. Don Arnold/WireImage

Australian stocks closed lower.

Today’s scoreboard:

  • ASX 200: 5,778.90 -20.75 -0.36%
  • All Ordinaries: 5,820.50 -20.27 -0.35%
  • AUD/USD: 0.7729 +0.0024 +0.31%

The local market lost ground on the first day of a new week after four days of gains last week.

The banks were underwater except for the NAB which was up 0.3% to $32.24.

Rio Tinto was down 0.8% to $62.39 but BHP was 0.1% higher at $24.88.

Retail shares took a beating with Harvey Norman falling 8.2% to $4.36.

Seek announced it would spend $118.5 million to increase its holding in Online Education Services to 80% from 50%. Its shares closed 1.49% higher at $14.96.

Shares in online and mobile marketing company Tech Mpire were up 21% to close at $0.34 after announcing it expects to hit record revenue of $12 million for the March quarter.

The top stories:

1. The pain from Amazon when it hits Australia. The retailers who will be hurt the most.

2. Australian house prices are showing no sign of slowing. The latest figures from CoreLogic.

3. The importance of farms. According the UBS Australian economics team, farm production contributed more to Australian economic growth than the direct impact of housing last year.

4. Fletcher Building issues a profit warning. New Zealand’s largest construction company says that full year profit could be as much as $NZ150 million ($AU136 million) less than expected. Its shares dropped almost 10% to $7.51.

5. A fresh regulatory crackdown on banks. Treasurer Scott Morrison foreshadows action to boost affordability for home buyers.

6. Bitcoin crashed 20%. The crypto-currency fell as low as $US970.

7. Fewer women are in economics than ever. Here’s why that’s bad for the economy.

8. One of the world’s biggest startup accelerators is opening in Melbourne. 500 Startups incoming after the Victorian government’s LaunchVic program agreed to tip in $2 million.

9. Qantas wants startups to help build better travel. The 12-week AVRO Accelerator program will see startups work with Qantas and industry mentors.

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