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

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Australian stocks closed lower.

Today’s scoreboard:

  • ASX 200: 5,760.20 -11.01 -0.19%
  • All Ordinaries: 5,802.80 -8.44 -0.15%
  • AUD/USD: 0.7501 +0.0023 +0.31%

The local market wobbled to a weak aclose as bank shares lost early gains.

Westpac was down 1.1% to $30.77 and the NAB 0.8% to $30.15.

The regional banks were also hit with the Bank of Queensland dropping 2.4% to $11.37 and Bendigo 1.6% to $11.64. S&P cut the credit ratings of 23 financials yesterday.

Among the miners, BHP lost 1.1% to $24.34 and Fortescue Metals 2% to $5.26.

SurfStitch shares fell 9% to $0.068 after reports of a class action against the online clothing retailer.

The top stories:

1. The big four banks say the new levy will cut profits by $1 billion. The numbers show that the new tax will raise the amount estimated in the 2017 federal budget — $1.6 billion a year or $6.2 billion over four — but only as a headline figure. Also read: the Commonwealth will be least hit.

2. Business ethics are crumbling. Getting a deal across the line and massaging financial reports is becoming more important to many in corporate Australia.

3. Upselling by predatory funeral directors. A study at the University of Sydney’s Business School says the funeral industry exploits vulnerable customers who can be hit with cost markups as high as 1000%.

4. Hitting guidance. OFX, formerly OzForex, reported a 2% rise in revenue to $115.23 million for the year to March, but a 10% fall in net profit to $19.6 million. Its shares jumped 17% to close at $1.54.

5. Australia has suddenly become the focus of attention for overseas workers. Uncertainty in the UK over Brexit and political unrest in the US has seen aspiring expat job seekers look to Australia.

6. How robots will change work, politics, and the global economy. An interview with Professor Ian Goldin of Oxford University.

7. Bitcoin slips, and recovers. After hitting a fresh record-high of $US2,230.33 in US trade, Bitcoin tumbled over 10% to as low as $US2,001 before rebounding yet again.

8. A freeze on the sale of drones. Coalition and Labor senators questioned why a safety review of drones, promised eight months ago, hadn’t begun yet.

9. The housing bust in some Australian mining towns is nearing its end. House prices in many mining centres have had a tough run recently.

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