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

Greg Wood/AFP/Getty Images

Australian stocks closed almost where they started.

Today’s scoreboard:

  • ASX 200: 5,689.90 +0.17 0.00%
  • All Ordinaries: 5,753.80 +0.94 +0.02%
  • AUD/USD: 0.7978 -0.0024 -0.30%

The local market cruised to a quiet close, weighed down by big companies going ex-dividend. The ASX200 was stuck just below the key 5700 mark.

BHP went ex-dividend and lost 1.4% to close at $27.33. Woolworths also went ex-dividend and dropped 1.79% to close at $25.30.

Telstra shares closed 2.7% higher at $3.72 after Credit Suisse raised its rating on the telco to outperform from neutral.

AGL Energy was up 2.3% to $24.27 following reports of a potential sale of its coal-fired Liddell Power Station in NSW.

Top stories:

1. Retail sales stall. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), sales came in flat during July in seasonally adjusted terms, missing forecasts for an increase of 0.2%.

2. A legal bid to stop CBS from taking over Ten. Billionaire Network Ten backer Bruce Gordon and the Murdoch family’s 21st Century Fox have each made last-ditch pushes to thwart the purchase of the failed network.

3. The postal vote goes ahead. The High Court dismissed a challenge by same-sex marriage advocates against Turnbull government’s $122 million Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey.

4. Aldi is ramping up the pressure. Aldi’s billion-dollar fresh food facelift for its supermarkets is reaping benefits, accelerating its market share growth against Coles and Woolworths.

5. Sigma Healthcare’s sales slumped. But the company says signs are good that momentum is swinging back in its favour. Its shares rose 2.9% to close at $0.885.

6. Coles is trialling Deliveroo. The UK restaurant meal courier Deliveroo is offering a 30-minute service for groceries.

7. How to tell if a fintech is going to be successful. Rajeev Gupta, a former investment banker who had his own successful startup, Geckolife, approaches each investment the same way, in a series of stages.

8. Aston Martin’s $US3 million Valkyrie hypercar. Here’s everything we know.

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