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

A fun runner jumps into a pool of mud as competitors take part in the annual McVities Mud Madness in Portadown, Northern Ireland. Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

Australian shares closed lower.

Today’s scoreboard:

  • ASX 200: 5,737.20 -12.92 -0.22%
  • All Ordinaries: 5,792.70 -12.07 -0.21%
  • AUD/USD: 0.7886 -0.0026 -0.33%

The local market opened higher, following a stronger Wall Street where the S&P500 added 1%, but lost ground after a string of lower than expected profit results.

The banks were mixed with the Commonwealth down 0.5% at $78.21 and Westpac 0.1% higher at $32.51.

Healthscope shares fell 15.3% to $1.85 after full year profit fell 38.8% to $110.9 million.

Sirtex Medical shed 10.4% to $14.56 after the cancer treatment group posted a full year loss of $26.26 million on the back of writedowns.

Beverage maker Coca-Cola Amatil fell 2.6% to $8.25 after posting a 29% fall in half year profit to $140.1 million on the back of challenging conditions in Australia.

Top stories:

1. No bonus for Vocus CEO. Geoff Horth elected to forego 100% of his short-term incentive cash payment amid the current challenges facing the telco. Vocus shares were up 0.7% to close at $2.64.

2. The money laundering scandal. The Commonwealth now faces a class action over disgruntled shareholders.

3. Thinner margins for IAG. The margin squeeze included higher claim costs in its motor businesses, large losses in its commercial insurance and a rise in natural peril claims.

4. Woolworths is back in profit. It posted a $1.53 billion full year result, a major turnaround from last year’s $1.23 billion loss, as sales growth surges past competitor Coles. Woolworths shares closed at $26.94, 0.4% down.

5. Startcon is back. This year it’s how to disrupt the disruptors with a theme of “Software is eating itself”.

6. Isentia goes into the red. The media monitoring company posted a full year loss of $13.52 million after writing down the value of its content marketing arm. Its shares fell 5.4% to close at $1.64.

7. a2 Milk’s profit tripled. Its annual profit jumped 198% to $NZ90.65 million ($A83.4 million) on booming sales in both China and Australia. Its shares closed at $A4.81, up almost 6.9%.

8. Finding a job. A map by the Department of Employment showing where job vacancies have increased over the past year, and where they haven’t. Also read: Who’s hiring.

9. No doubt the Australian economy is picking up steam. A chart from the ANZ Bank’s quarterly Stateometer.

10. In search of the humble CEO. Studies show that CEOs who overestimate their abilities tend to overpay for acquisitions, take undue risks, introduce more unsuccessful new products, and have a more volatile firm performance.

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