AUSTRALIAN STOCKS SLIP: What you need to know

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Australian stocks closed marginally lower.

Today’s scoreboard:

  • ASX 200: 5,724.20 -14.79 -0.26%
  • All Ordinaries: 5,773.80 -13.08 -0.23%
  • AUD/USD: 0.7689 +0.0020 +0.26%

The local market continued its slide started last week

The big miners lost ground With Rio Tinto down 0.6% to $62.49 and Woodside Petroleum 1.7% to $31.46.

The banks were mixed with the ANZ up 0.25% to $31.98 but the Commonwealth down 0.9% to $82.24.

Lend Lease was up 3.5% to $15.35 after reporting a 12% rise in profit to $394.8 million.

Aged care provider Japara Healthcare fell 5.9% to close at $1.90 after posting a 9.9% fall in profit to $14.6.

The top stories:

1. The Sydney and Melbourne housing markets are still red hot. And there are signs that strength is spreading.

2. QBE’s chief executive just lost $550,000 in bonuses. John Neal was slow to inform his board of directors about a relationship with a staff member.

3. Slater and Gordon’s massive losses continue. Negotiations with its banks continue and the turnaround of the law firm is taking longer than expected. Its shares lost 21.8% to close at $0.125.

4. QBE announces a $1 billion share buyback. And the insurer posted a 23% increase in full year profit to $US844 million ($A1.098 billion). QBE shares closed 2.4% higher at$12.60.

5. Lessons for Australian investors from Warren Buffett’s annual letter. Wide spread fear is your friend.

6. Uber and the taxi industry agree on one thing. They both hate the Victorian government’s new $2 levy.

7. The reporting season. All but 8 of the 135 companies (94%) produced a profit for the six months to December.

8. amaysim prepares to launch its broadband service. And the mobile sim card company has posted a 10% rise in half year underlying profit after tax of $8.34 million. Its shares lost 3.2% to close at $1.79.

9. Co-working space Gravity has nabbed Naomi Simson. The luxury brand with workspaces in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne has apppointed the founder of RedBalloon and Redii as its entrepreneur-in-residence.

10. The retail slide. Home furnishing sales drop at Adairs. Its shares fell more than 14% to close at $1.20.

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