AUSTRALIAN STOCKS SOAR IN MARCH: What you need to know

Tim Cahill of Australia thanks fans after winning the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualification match against Jordan in Sydney. Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

The Australian market ended the session and the month higher.

Here’s the scoreboard:

  • S&P ASX 200: 5,082.80 +72.53 +1.45%
  • All Ordinaries: 5,151.80 +70.31 +1.38%
  • AUD/USD: 0.7654 -0.0017 -0.22%

The major banks and the big miners bounced back to close the month higher with the ASX 200 adding 4.1% in March.

However, the market is down by 4% over the three months since the start of 2016.

Much of the fall has been in financial stocks with the sector losing 8.3% for the quarter.

Looking back over 12 months, the market is down 13.7%.

Today the NAB led the banks, closing 2.3% higher at $26.24. BHP was up 1.4% at $16.86 and Rio Tinto 1.6% to $42.69.

Virgin Australia made up some lost ground today after losing 9.3% Wednesday on news that Air New Zealand is looking at selling its shareholding in Australia’s second domestic carrier. Virgin closed 7.3% higher at $0.365.

Competitor Qantas also did well today after a 10.5% rise in passenger numbers for February. It closed 2.5% higher at $4.07.

The top stories Thursday:

1. Home loans blues. Delinquencies on home mortgages will rise slightly this year from current low levels, according to analysis by Moody’s Investors Service.

2. Robot financial advice. Decimal Software, the robo-advice platform builder, is launching a more off-the-shelf solution for superannuation funds and finance houses. Its shares closed down 7.4% to $0.05.

3. ResApp Health Limited. A smartphone app developed in Australia has been found to be highly accurate in detecting respiratory illness, getting better results than experienced doctors. Its shares closed down 3.8% to $0.25.

4. A good job, but … Here’s why your pay increase could be even smaller in 2016. Also read: There’s plenty of jobs. And also: Average salaries are going backwards in 4 states.

5. A terrible time to buy a house? Australian home buyer confidence has dropped for the first time since March 2014, according to the latest release of the Genworth Homebuyer Confidence Index (HCI).

6. Queuing to buy a car. More than 200 Australians have lined up to pre-order Tesla’s unseen Model 3.

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