5 things you need to know about the Australian sharemarket today

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

  1. The S&P/ ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) has opened flat following uninspiring results across global markets overnight.The US Dow Jones and S&P 500 both closed flat, with only the NASDAQ index posting a 0.3% gain.
  2. Westpac Banking Corp (ASX: WBC) CEO Gail Kelly will leave the bank she has led for the past seven years, with a further five at St George Bank. The bank has appointed Brian Hartzer to take over, when Ms Kelly leaves on February 1, 2015.Westpac shares were down 1.3% to $32.91 in early trading.
  3. Graincorp Ltd (ASX: GNC) has seen its shares trade slightly lower at $8.47, after the agricultural company reported a 64% drop in full year profit to $50 million. CEO Mark Palmquist says the outlook remains challenging.

    “We expect the environment to remain tight for our grains businesses. The current eastern Australia harvest is expected to below average, this year’s carry-in is a near record low of 1.9 million tonnes, there is a smaller exportable surplus and there will again be competition for grain,” he said.

  4. Tweet of the Day

    The stock market doesn’t always represent the economy – particularly when large companies, such as those in the US earn significant revenues offshore.

  5. Stock of the Day – brought to you by Andrew Mudie – Yowie Group Ltd (ASX: YOW). Shares in the confectionary maker jumped 13% yesterday, after announcing further US growth. Is this a sleeper story, that most of the market has yet to catch on to? Find out 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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