AUSTRALIAN STOCKS SLIP: What you need to know

Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/GettyImages

Australian shares closed lower.

Today’s scoreboard:

  • S&P ASX 200: 5,795.10 -10.72 -0.18%
  • All Ordinaries: 5,840.50 -10.48 -0.18%
  • AUD/USD: 0.7676 +0.0014 +0.18%

The local market was weighed down by the big miners.

BHP dropped 0.6% to $26.47 and Rio Tinto 0.2% to $67.64.

The banks were mixed with Westpac up 0.7% to $34.12 and NAB weaker by just 0.03% to close at $31.70.

Some of the half year results posted today:

    Builder AV Jennings posted a 14.4% fall in profit $14.1 million. Its shares were flat at $0.58.

    Beach energy shares were up 1.4% to $0.70 after posting a half year profit of $103 million.

    Gold miner Northern Star posted a 61% rise in half year profit to $104.6 million. It’s shares were steady at $4.48.

    SHares in insurance comparison website ISelect fell 1.3% to $1.79 despite posting a $2.5 million profit in the half year, up from a loss in the same period the previous year.

The top stories:

1. Amazon is coming and consumers are primed. Amazon Prime is not yet available in Australia but nearly half the market is ready to hand over its money for the premium shopping service.

2. Uber fares may rise. Uber has lost a Federal Court case over whether its drivers should be charged GST.

3. Health insurer nib has grabbed a bigger share of customers. And it posted a 65% increase in half-year profit to $71.1 million. Its shares jumped more than 8% to close at $5.10.

4. BlueScope smashes profit. The steel maker lifted first half profit by 79% to $359.1 million and launched a share buyback. Its shares were up 4% to $12.68.

5. Government businesses will have to reveal CEO salaries. The government has written to several government-owned enterprises including Australia Post, the Future Fund and Australian Submarine Corporation demanding disclosure for 2015-16 by February 28.

6. Brambles is heading for a flat full year profit. The logistics group fell sharply after reporting a 44% fall in profit to $US162.3 million for the six months to December. Brambles shares dropped 9.9% to $9.47.

7. The pain of the end of the mining boom. Engineering services group WorleyParsons today posted a half year loss of $2.4 million for the six months to December. Its shares dropped 12.7% to close at$8.60.

8. Australians finally get a chance to see the F-35A in action. It will make its Aussie debut at the Australian International Airshow at Avalon in early March.

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