AUSTRALIAN STOCKS TAKE OFF: What you need to know

Rally of Australia at Coffs Harbour, NSW. William West/AFP/Getty Images

Australian stocks closed higher for the third session in a row.

Today’s scoreboard:

  • S&P ASX 200: 5,543.60 +65.50 +1.20%
  • All Ordinaries: 5,599.00 +63.63 +1.15%
  • AUD/USD: 0.7498 +0.0018 +0.24%

The local market, following a rally on global markets, broke through the 5500 point mark on the ASX200 and kept going.

The ASX200 has gained 1.9% higher so far this month. December is traditionally known as the Santa rally month, with seven out of the last ten closing higher.

Among the banks today, the ANZ was up 2.5% to $29.53 and Westpac 2% to $32.13. The Commonwealth managed just 0.5% to close at $79.73.

Iron ore prices jumped by about 4.8% overnight. Rio Tinto was up 3.1% to $62.73, BHP 1.2% to $26.04 and pure play iron ore miner Fortescue Metals 1.6% to $6.69.

IAG, the owner of NRMA insurance, was up 4.4% to $5.85 after reaffirming guidance for the full year.

The top stories:

1. Woolworths just had a huge win over the ACCC. The Federal Court today dismissed a case over payments from suppliers to the supermarket chain to cover profit shortfalls.

2. Australia’s trade deficit blew out unexpectedly. According to the ABS, a deficit of $1.541 billion was recorded, $269 million larger than the upwardly-revised $1.272 billion figure of September.

3. Santos has a new strategy. Santos has developed a new strategy, including further reducing debt and focusing on five core assets, to take advantage of improving demand for oil and gas.

4. China just gave the clearest signal yet that its economy is bouncing back. Trade data has beaten across the board in October, a good sign for not only its economy but global demand as a whole.

5. Why a higher Australian dollar isn’t complicating the economy’s transition, yet. Almost by stealth, Australia’s services exports hit a record-high in October, rising by 2% to $6.212 billion.

6. Hundreds of global equity strategists are now bullish stocks. That’s a massive shift in sentiment from the last Reuters poll back in October before the US presidential election.

7. News Corp gets competition approval to buy APN newspapers. The competition watchdog the ACCC (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission) says it won’t oppose the sale, mainly because of falling readership as people turn to other online sources of news.

8. NAB is shifting its Sydney HQ to the new $1.7 billion Wynyard Place. It’s one of the biggest upheavals in the bank’s history.

9. Fake news is just another name for “lies”. Ten Network chairman David Gordon today criticised the fake news trend and the apparent inability of big social media companies to monitor the truth.

10. Sydney’s lockout laws will soften slightly next year. The changes approved by the Baird government are in line with the recommendations of the review into the laws by former High Court judge Ian Callinan earlier this year.

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