THE ASX WAS UP FOR THE THIRD DAY: Here's What You Need To Know

The Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 spans some 39,379 nautical miles, visits 11 ports in 11 countries (Spain, South Africa, United Arab Emirates, China, New Zealand, Brazil, United States, Portugal, France, the Netherlands and Sweden) over nine months. Brian Carlin/Team Vestas Wind/Volvo Ocean Race via Getty Images

The Australian market closed higher for the third day in a row, carried on the backs of the major banks.

The signals from Wall Street were good with the S&P 500 rising by 0.64% overnight on positive economic news.

The banks were all up, led by Westpac which was firmer by 1.7% to $33.40.

First, the scoreboard:

  • S&P ASX 200:5,368.80 +46.98 (+0.88%)
  • All Ordinaries: 5,345.40 +44.17 (+0.83%)
  • AUD/USD: 0.8396 -0.0007 (-0.08%)

And the top stories on Thursday:

1. Great news on retail sales. October retail sales rose 0.4% in October, following an upwardly revised 1.3% in September and a rise of 0.1% in August 2014.

2. Falling oil prices. Santos shares fell sharply after the energy producer announced a delay in a Euro 500 million ($733.26 million) capital raising. Its shares closed down 3.85% to $8.73.

3. A growing group of authoritative voices now believe an official interest rate cut, and not a rise, is on the agenda for 2015.

4. Shares in Vocation crashed after the training group cut its earnings forecast in half following an inquiry into its courses, which saw the Victorian government withdraw funding. Vocation’s shares closed down 63% to 19 cents.

5. Ten Network shares weaker. The level of bids for the Ten Network would mean large losses for the troubled free-to-air TV network’s shareholders, including several of Australia’s richest people. The stock closed down more than 11% to 20 cents.

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