STOCKS RALLY: Here's what you need to know

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The Australian market rallied with the banks higher and investors, hoping the federal budget will bring on a shopping frenzy, returning to major retailers.

Here’s the scoreboard:

  • S&P ASX 200: 5,715.10 +40.40 +0.71%
  • All Ordinaries: 5,710.80 +37.70 +0.66%
  • AUD/USD: 0.7969 -0.0007 -0.09%

In the US, the S&P 500 index closed down 0.3%. On the local market, nine out of ten sectors were higher.

The major banks, except for Westpac trading ex-dividend, helped lift the market. The NAB was up 3.21% to $35.65, ANZ 2.16% to $33.11 and the Commonwealth 1.33% to $83.98. Westpac was down 2.3% to $33.27.

Among the retailers, Myer was up more than 10% to $1.55 after releasing good third quarter sales results. Harvey Norman was tracking 5% higher at $4.62, Dick Smith 3.2% to $2.21, JB Hi-Fi 21.1% to $20.90 and Woolworths 2.6% to $28.50.

The top stories for Wednesday:

1. Australian wages growth slows to a crawl. The ABS has just released its wage price index for the March quarter of 2015.

2. Shareholders of transport group Toll Holdings, which started in 1888 hauling coal with a horse and cart at Newcastle, NSW, have overwhelmingly voted to accept a $6.5 billion takeover offer from Japan Post.

3. Online surf retailer SurfStitch is raising $40 million from institutional and retail investors to fund strategic acquisitions, including a surf weather site and a global online news magazine.

4. Retail stocks went nuts after the budget. Major retailers came back into fashion today after the federal budget’s spending incentives for small businesses.

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