AUSTRALIAN STOCKS TAKE OFF: Here's what you need to know

Horacio Villalobos – Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images

The ASX200 closed the week on a high, recording its biggest one-day gain in almost three months.

Here’s today’s scoreboard:

ASX 200: 5,710.70 +58.93 (+1.04%)
All Ordinaries: 5,777.40 +57.09 (+1.00%)
AUD/USD: 0.7762 -0.0034 -0.44%

Today’s gains pushed the local index 0.5% higher for the week. All the major sectors caught a bid in a buoyant Friday session, as the ASX finally followed the strong lead of global stocks after struggling for traction all week.

The ASX200 financials index rose, with each of the big banks up by more than 1%, led by Westpac which closed 1.31% higher.

Capital inflows also spread to resources stocks, with BHP, Rio and South32 all up by more than 1.8% while Fortescue gained 0.39% after spot iron ore prices dipped again last night.

Some of the big retailers bounced back after yesterday’s sell-off, with Harvey Norman and Super Retail Group up by 0.8% and 1.25% respectively.

However, department store Myer lost another 1.64% while JB Hi-Fi dipped by 0.79%.

Lithium miner Pilbarra Minerals was one of the best performers today, closing almost 10% higher as interest in the lithium industry continues to build.

Last week, Pilbarra closed a deal with giant Chinese electric car manufacturer Great Wall Motors to supply lithium for its car batteries.

Top stories:

1. Aussie banks beware: 8 different Australian tech start-ups have launched apps to tap into the lucrative market for personal financial management, and they’re looking to muscle in on the banks’ turf.

2. It’s crunch time: The latest AlphaWise survey by Morgan Stanley paints a worrying picture for the Australian economy, with Australian consumers “crunched” by low wage growth, rising costs of living and high house prices.

3. Rate cuts still on the table: While the market has been towards a rate rise recently, current RBA board member Ian Harper poured some cold water on those sentiments today, telling the Wall Street Journal that further rate cuts could still be a possibility.

4. Amazon vs Australia Post: Amazon has proposed a model where delivery service providers would collect GST on behalf of online retailers, but Australia Post has rubbished the idea.

5. Apple gives Uber secret access: Uber’s iPhone app has a secret backdoor to powerful Apple features, allowing the ride-hailing service to potentially record a user’s screen and access other personal information without their knowledge.

6.US investors turn their backs: According to Citi, one reason for the poor performance of Australian stocks this year is reduced inflows from US investors.

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