AUSTRALIAN STOCKS SUBDUED BY THE BANKS: Here's what you need to know

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Australian stocks closed the session lower and ended the week going nowhere.

Today’s scoreboard:

  • ASX 200: 5,836.90 -41.44 -0.70%
  • All Ordinaries: 5,870.90 -41.13 -0.70%
  • AUD/USD: 0.7382 +0.0004 +0.05%

The local market cruised to a soft close for the week. The ASX200 was flat against last Friday’s close, or less than one index point higher.

The banks see-sawed today, mostly adding to falls. The banks started sliding this week after the federal budget on Tuesday announced a levy of $1.5 billion a year on the five biggest banks.

The Commonwealth Bank has lost more than 3% this week. Today it closed down 0.49% to $81.67 after dropping more than 1% earlier in the day.

Macquarie was down 1% to $92.63 after earlier slipping 1.8%. Westpac slipped just 0.1% to $32.57 and the ANZ 0.2% to $29.22. NAB was slightly ahead at 32.33, up just 0.09%.

The top stories:

1. The rout in global commodities could hit the federal budget. Commodities are suffering yet another of their China meltdowns, but this time it could be more threatening, warns JPMorgan.

2. Yellow Pages has been caught out. Sensis says it may have breached consumer laws by automatically renewing 12-month customer contracts without clearly telling them.

3. The era of discount airfares is ending. Commsec economist Savanth Sebastian has collated the latest figures from the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE) which show rises across multiple airfare classes.

4. BUDGET 2017. Here is Labor’s alternative to the budget. Also read: Bill Shorten takes aim at high-earners and four wasted years.

5. Australia’s debt is rising but still affordable. Analysis by Moody’s.

6. This real estate agent matching startup just raised $5.5 million. And LocalAgentFinder is now considering an IPO.

7. You’re too old. Most Australian employers admit to age bias.

8. A small Italian village is offering people cheap rent and $2,900 to move there. Bormida, a mountainous region in Liguria, north-west Italy, has a population of just 394 people.

9. PODCAST: The budget, banks, and blow-ups.

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