AUSTRALIAN STOCKS SLUMP 1.6% THIS WEEK: What you need to know

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Australian shares closed the session, and the week, lower.

Today’s scoreboard:

  • S&P ASX 200: 5,621.60 -23.83 -0.42%
  • All Ordinaries: 5,672.50 -23.89 -0.42%
  • AUD/USD: 0.7649 -0.0008 -0.10%

Four out of five days were in the red, leaving the ASX200 down 1.6% for the week.

The local market has seesawed since the presidential inauguration on January 20 but is now only down about 0.5% since the Trump administration took over in the US.

Today, the local market tracked higher in the first half of the day but dipped into negative territory in the afternoon.

The market was subdued by news from China that the People’s Bank of China adjusted some key lending rates in what appeared to be a tightening of monetary policy.

The big miners dragged on the market as the price of iron ore fell in China. BHP dropped 3.1% to $26.20, Rio Tinto 3.9% to $64.53 and Fortescue 4.5% to $6.45.

Southern Cross Media, which is in talks with WIN Corporation for the sale of its northern NSW television assets, closed down 4.7% to $1.395.

The top stories:

1. Stocks in China are sinking. And bonds are selling off in Friday’s Asian trading session. Also read: Chinese commodity futures obliterated.

2. Virgin Australia profits are suffering. Australia’s second largest airline reported a drop of $27.1 million to $45.9 million in underlying profit before tax for the second quarter of the financial year, compared to the same period last year. Its shares fell 4.6% to close at $0.205.

3. James Hardie is betting on more home building in Trump’s America. The building products group is forecasting growing sales of its fibre cement panels on the back of a spurt in housing construction in the US. Its shares lost 4.3% on a profit downgrade to close at $19.94.

4. Tim Worner stays as CEO of Seven West Media. He’s been cleared by the board of directors of allegations he used company funds furthering an affair with a staffer. Seven West shares fell 2.4% to $0.805.

5. Tigerair pulls out of Bali. The decision will impact Virgin Australia, the Tigerair’s owner, which uses the budget airline as a holiday carrier, much like Qantas does with Jetstar.

6. Mr “Trumbull”, the Australian prime minister. White House press secretary Sean Spicer twice mispronounced Malcolm Turnbull’s name during a media conference.

7. Australians shoppers spent a mammoth $21.65 billion online last year. The emergence of meal delivery services such as Foodora, Menulog and UberEats produced a big jump in online sales at the end of 2016.

8. Why you need to be careful what you take with you when leaving a company. What is yours and what is the company’s?

9. If vegetarians live longer, it’s not because of what they’re eating. A study found no statistical difference between vegetarians and non-vegetarians for the risk of early death.

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