5 things you need to know about the Australian sharemarket today

Welcome to Wednesday. Here are the five things I’m looking at today on the Australian sharemarket.

  1. The S&P/ ASX 200 Index (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) has opened 0.4% higher, following leads from Wall Street overnight.The Dow Jones rose 1.1%, jumping back above 17,000 points, while the S&P 500 gained 1.2% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index climbed 1.8% higher.

    Earnings results in the US are for the most part beating analyst expectations, and US consumer confidence hit its highest level in 7 years in October. But all eyes will be on Janet Yellen and the US Fed, which began its 2-day meeting yesterday.

  2. More bad news could be headed education provider Vocation Ltd’s (ASX: VET) way with news reports that the corporate watchdog ASIC is investigating the company and law firm Maurice Blackburn could be eyeing a potential class action.Vocation’s shares slid 57% yesterday, after the Victorian government withheld more than $19 million in funding. Investment banks also appear to be taking further steps to short the stock, predicting further price falls ahead. On Monday, investment bank UBS increased its holding in the company through securities lending – usually a sign of shorting.
  3. Crown Resorts Ltd (ASX: CWN) and rival Echo Entertainment Group Ltd (ASX: EGP) have opened a new front in their ongoing rivalry. Both casino giants have made bids to build a new casino and entertainment complex at Brisbane’s Queen Street Wharf. Echo already has the Treasury Casino in Brisbane. This will be the city’s second casino, and the successful bidder is expected to be announced in early 2015.Crown is set to open a VIP, high roller casino at Barangaroo in Sydney in 2019, competing directly with Echo’s The Star casino.
  4. Tweet of the Day

    Want to write for The Motley Fool Australia? Here’s your chance.

  5. Stock of the Day – brought to you by Ryan Newman – Medibank Private. Ryan notes that Medibank has benefitted from one big tailwind, raising concerns over the health insurer’s ability to sustain growing profits. You can read more here.

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Motley Fool writer/analyst Mike King doesn't own shares in any companies mentioned. You can follow Mike on Twitter @TMFKinga

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