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5 things you need to know about the Australian sharemarket today

Welcome to Monday and the start of another week. 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 rises on Wall Street on Friday.The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.3% while the broader S&P 500 added 0.4% and the tech-heavy NASDAQ surged 0.8%.

    Crude oil prices were up again, with Brent oil gaining 3.8% to US$61.52 per barrel, while iron ore was also up, gaining 1.5% to US$63.19 per tonne.

    The Australian dollar is steady against the US dollar and is currently buying 77.8 US cents.

  2. The Australian Financial Review (AFR) reports that China has lifted the ban on Brazilian iron ore giant Vale’s huge ships docking in China. The move could see Vale replace Rio Tinto Limited (ASX: RIO) as the world’s lowest cost producer, and also take market share away from Rio and fellow Aussie iron ore miners BHP Billiton Limited (ASX: BHP) and Fortescue Metals Group Limited (ASX: FMG).Gina Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting could also see returns hit on its Roy Hill iron ore mine. The mine is expected to produce 55 million tonnes of iron ore each year.

    Already estimated to be in oversupply, the iron ore price is expected to see further downward pressure as oversupply increases.

  3. Regional bank Bendigo and Adelaide Bank Ltd (ASX: BEN) has reported a cash profit for the half year to December 2014 of $218 million, up 11% over last year. Bendigo will pay an interim fully franked dividend of 33 cents, up slightly over last year as well. Shares have fallen 2.9% in early trading.
  4. Tweet of the Day


  5. Stock of the Day– brought to you by Matt Brazier – Breville Group Ltd (ASX: BRG). Time to buy the consumer appliance maker? Find out here.

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Motley Fool writer/analyst Mike King owns shares in Medibank Private. You can follow Mike on Twitter @TMFKinga

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