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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 up 1.1% higher, after strong gains on Wall Street.Overnight, the Dow Jones jumped 1.7%, the broader S&P 500 soared 2.1%, while the NASDAQ also rocketed up 2.1% as the US Federal Reserve said it would be patient when it came to making interest rate increases.

    With oil prices keeping a lid on inflation, predictions of interest rate rises early in 2015 appear now appear incorrect. And we could see the existing low rates continue for some time.

  2. Telstra Corporation Ltd (ASX: TLS) has confirmed it is in talks to buy Pacnet, which owns and operates undersea cables between Asia and the US. Bloomberg reports that Pacnet’s owners are looking for around $1 billion, but will give Telstra ownership of around 46,000 kilometres of submarine cable – a priceless asset as data demands are expected to soar.
  3. Woolworths Limited (ASX: WOW) is under investigation by the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission (ACCC) after suppliers complained that the retailing giant had requested extra payments from suppliers to fund the gap between sales and profit growth.Earlier this month, competitor Coles – owned by Wesfarmers Ltd (ASX: WES) admitted unconscionable conduct against eight suppliers, agreed to pay $10 million in fines and review contracts with hundreds of suppliers.
  4. Tweet of the Day

    An apt reminder that some of us are more fortunate than others, and even small donations can go a long way.

  5. Stock of the Day – brought to you by Andrew Mudie – Flight Centre Travel Group Ltd (ASX: FLT). What’s in store for the travel agent in the year ahead? You can find out more here.

Here's another stock that we think has a fantastic outlook. The Motley Fool's top analysts have just completed a brand-new free report on their top pick for 2015. Be among the first to get the name and code right now. (Hint: It's a sexy ASX tech company!) Simply click here for your FREE copy... BEFORE the investing crowd gets wind of this!

Motley Fool writer/analyst Mike King owns shares in Telstra Corporation, Flight Centre and Woolworths. You can follow Mike on Twitter @TMFKinga

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