AUSTRALIAN STOCKS SLIP: What you need to know

Australia’s Alex De Minaur during the Australian Open December Showdown in Melbourne. Robert Prezioso/Getty Images

Australian stocks closed lower.

Today’s scoreboard:

  • S&P ASX 200: 5,545.00 -17.83 -0.32%
  • All Ordinaries: 5,600.70 -18.42 -0.33%
  • AUD/USD: 0.7490 -0.0006 -0.08%

The local market see-sawed through a modest range to end the day in negative territory.

However, the ASX200 is still firmly above the key 5500 point level and holding on to most of last week’s 2% gains.

The major banks and the big miners both lost ground.

Westpac fell 1.1% to close at $31.92 and the NAB 0.1% to $29.78.

Rio Tinto dropped 2.45% to $61.25 and BHP 0.7% to $26.12.

Energy stocks added weight as oil price continued their climb. Woodside Petroleum was up 0.95% to $31.78.

National airline Qantas, whose fuel costs are significant, was down 1.5% to $3.27 on the rising oil prices.

The top stories:

1. Worrying news from the front line of the Australian economy. Trading conditions for Australian businesses fell to the lowest level seen in 18 months in November.

2. Confidence in Australia’s economic outlook collapsed after last week’s GDP report. The ANZ-Roy Morgan consumer confidence index slid last week by 4.4% to 113.4, leaving it at the lowest level seen since May.

3. The ATO website is down for the 2nd day running. The site crashed around 10.30 am on Monday and the ATO blames a “new hardware storage solution that was upgraded in November 2015”.

4. A wealth management firm is raising $50 million to fund Australian startups expanding into China. BMYG co-founder Eric Gao says there’s an untapped desire from Chinese investors to invest in local start-ups.

5. Freelancer buys into Latin American, Spanish and Portuguese markets. The world’s largest freelancing and crowdsourcing marketplace announced two acquisitions, Nubelo and Prolancer, the largest Spanish and Portuguese freelancing marketplaces. Freelancer shares were up 3% to $1.03.

6. Estia Health shares hammered after completing the institutional part of an equity raising to pay off debt. it gathered $72 million from institutions at $2.10 a share. The retail offer aims to raise another $65 million. Its shares were down almost 9% to $2.44.

7. The value of homes. Australia now has 9.755 million residential dwellings that are worth $6.16 trillion, according to the ABS’ estimates.

8. It’s starting to look like a frugal Christmas. According to research by industry analysts IBISWorld, Christmas shopping will be relatively flat, growing by only 0.4% in December as consumers look for bargains and discounts.

9. The habits of top sales people. Two reports by Salesforce dive deep into the numbers game of sales.

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