AUSTRALIAN STOCKS STALL: Here's what you need to know

A sculpture called, Get a Haircut, Get a Job, by Karl De Waal at Sculpture By The Sea at Bondi Beach in Sydney. Brook Mitchell/Getty Images

Australian stocks closed marginally higher.

Today’s scoreboard:

  • ASX200: 5,998.30 +3.90 +0.07%
  • All Ordinaries: 6,081.90 +4.50 +0.07%
  • AUD/USD: 0.7526 +0.0017 +0.23%

The local market broke through the 6000 mark on the ASX200 index but slipped back again.

The Commonwealth Bank was 0.4% higher at $80 but Westpac dropped 0.2% to $31.48.

Shares in the Retail Food Group, the owner of Gloria Jean’s coffee shops, fell 26% to $3.25 after a Fairfax Media investigation revealed hundreds of stores were going to the wall as “a result of a brutal business model”.

Rio Tinto was up 0.4% to $69.48 and pure play iron ore miner Fortescue Metals 1.1% to $4.61.

Top stories:

1. The ATO targets hundreds of Australia’s richest. The Australian Tax Office is targeting hundreds more of the country’s richest people as the man who replaced disgraced Michael Cranston takes a more personal approach to high-end tax avoidance.

2. Christmas has come early for Australian petrol retailers. According to new research from Commsec, the differential between wholesale and retail fuel prices in Australia’s largest city is now approaching the highest levels on record.

3. The risks for Australian economic growth are “firmly to the downside”. Analysis by Bill Evans, Chief Economist at Westpac.

4. Ookami buys into a blockchain company. The software solutions company announced a strategic stake in Brontech Pty Ltd.

5. Australia’s mining sector is about to take off again. Activity in Australia’s mining sector will accelerate this financial year, according to forecasts by industry analysts BIS Oxford Economics.

6. House prices. Auction clearances in Sydney and Melbourne are about to hit fresh multi-year lows.

7. Bondcanos to animal spirits: 5 key themes to watch for Australian stocks in 2018.

8. The New Year and what it will bring. 9 successful Australian leaders share their business predictions for 2018.

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