AUSTRALIAN STOCKS SLIP: What you need to know

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Australian stocks closed down.

Today’s scoreboard:

  • S&P ASX 200: 5,541.90 -19.77 -0.36%
  • All Ordinaries: 5,631.40 -22.17 -0.39%
  • AUD/USD: 0.7627 +0.0014 +0.18%

The local market lost steam in afternoon trade but still kept above the key 5,500 mark on the ASX 200.

The big miners and the major banks led the losses. Westpac dropped 1.2% to close at $30.36, BHP 1.8% to $21.03 and Rio Tinto 1.4% to $49.10.

Wesfarmers added 2.4% to $43.66 after Woolworths announced the closure of its Masters hardware group, meaning less competition for market leader Bunnings.

Nine Entertainment was up almost 1% to $1.03 despite a 7.1% drop in full year profits to $120.3 million. It reduced debt by $346.7 million to $177.6 million from the proceeds of Nine Live, its events business.

MYOB shares dropped almost 10% to $3.67 after the accountancy software group posted a profit of $26.02 million on an above-prospectus 10.9% jump in revenue to $178.26 million.

Murray Goulburn, the largest processor of milk in Australia, posted a 61% rise in net profit to $40.6 million despite revenue falling 3.3% to $2.8 billion. Its units jumped 11% to close at $1.44.

The top stories:

1. The worst result in 20 years. Woolworths posted a full year net loss of $1.23 billion, as the retailer exits the hardware industry, restructures and rebuilds its supermarket business. Its shares added 3.9% to close at $25.17.

2. This is why the Masters hardware chain failed. John Winning, the founder of Appliances Online and the CEO of Winning Appliances, says the failure of the Woolworths-run Masters chain isn’t a surprise.

3. Surf wipe-out. Billabong posted a full year loss of $23 million, compared to a profit of $4.2 million in 2015, despite a lift in revenue. Its shares dropped 10% to close at $1.41.

4. The view to Canberra. Australia’s directors have serious concerns about short-termism in policymaking in Canberra, according to a poll done just after the federal election.

5. International flight prices fall 4%. Cheap airfares are partly to blame for a 4.7% drop in profit to $244.6 million at travel agency Flight Centre. Its shares closed at $36.23, up 0.6%.

6. A silence falls on the markets. Deutsche Bank’s Jim Reid just nailed the boredom in financial markets right now.

7. Try before you buy. This Australian rental website has cut a deal with Airbnb.

8. Treasurer Scott Morrison on economic growth. We need to coax capital out of its cave.

9. PHOTOS. The stunning building which will replace Sydney’s iconic Imax theatre.

10. Getting ahead. A Harvard psychologist reveals the biggest reason people don’t achieve their goals.

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