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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: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) has opened flat despite positive results on US markets overnight.On Wall Street, US markets gained with the Dow Jones rising 0.2%, the broader S&P 500 adding 0.5% and the tech-heavy NASDAQ climbed 0.7%.
  2. Chemicals and explosives company Orica Ltd (ASX: ORI) has announced the sale of its non-mining chemicals division to private equity firm Blackstone for $750 million.The company is also reported to be considering returning some of that capital to shareholders.

    Orica also reported a 2% rise in full year net profit today to $602.5 million, and says it is not expecting to see much improvement on that in the year ahead, given volatile and uncertain markets around the world.

  3. Woodside Petroleum Limited (ASX: WPL) has confirmed that it will develop its huge Browse gas fields using floating LNG (FLNG) technology. The company says FLNG is the most likely commercially viable option to develop three enormous gas and liquids fields off the West Australian coast.The Brecknock, Calliance and Torosa gas fields are estimated to hold around 14.9 trillion cubic feet of gas and 441 million barrels of condensates. The final go-ahead is expected in the second half of 2015, and could cost more than $80 billion to develop.
  4. Tweet of the Day

    Iron ore dropped 4% overnight to US$71 per tonne – and it’s probably not the bottom yet.

  5. Stock of the Day – brought to you by Tim McArthur – Ten Network Holdings Limited (ASX: TEN). Will shareholders see their company bought out? The odds appear to be rising, as Tim writes 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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