Australian stocks close at a five-month high, with investors relishing the RBA's rate cut decision and resources stocks helped by stronger-than-expected US manufacturing data.

4.58pm: That's all for today. Thanks everyone for reading this blog and posting your comments. We'll be back tomorrow morning at 9.30am, maybe with some more news on how the big banks will react to the rates cut.

For a wrap of today's session, click here.

4.46pm: Australia's major banks are playing a waiting game following the Reserve Bank's decision to cut the cash rate by 25 basis points.

Commonwealth Bank and Westpac confirmed that "rates were under review" after the RBA surprised the market and lowered the cash rate to a GFC-low of 3.25 per cent today, in response to signs of a weakening economy.

NAB, while not providing updates on its mortgage rates, pledged to offer the lowest rates among the big four.

ANZ is expected to announce its decision on mortgage and savings rates on October 12, in keeping with its policy of announcing rates on the second Friday of each month.

4.32pm: And some other bigger movers:

  • APN: +24.6%
  • Saracen: +14%
  • Senex Energy: +6.25%
  • Energy World: -4%
  • Macquarie Atlas: -3.5%
  • Decil: -2.5%

4.27pm: Here's how some of the blue chips performed:

  • BHP: +1.3%
  • Rio: +1.2%
  • ANZ: +0.8%
  • CBA: +0.3%
  • NAB: +1.1%
  • Westpac: +0.9%
  • Fortescue: +1.4%
  • Woolies: +0.5%
  • Wesfarmers: +1%
  • Telstra: 1%
  • Newcrest: +0.9%

4.24pm: All sectors closed higher, with materials jumping 1.3 per cent, consumer discretionary up 1.4 per cent and financials gaining 0.9 per cent.

4.14pm: The market has closed strongly higher, after the RBA's rate cut lifted sentiment in late trade. The benchmark S&P/ASX200 rose 44.4 points, or 1 per cent, to 4433.0, its highest close since May 2. The broader All Ords gained 43.6 points, or 1 per cent, to 4451.9.

4.11pm: As the dollar slips below $US1.03, Stephen Koukoulas reckons there's more pressure ahead for the Aussie:

European traders in now: Watch for AUD to be smacked lower. Those silly central banks buying AUD bonds in recent times - getting poor advice

- @TheKouk

4.07pm: European stock index futures are pointing to a weaker open today after sharp gains in the previous session, with uncertainty over the timing of a likely aid request by Spain prompting investors to stay cautious.

Futures for the Euro STOXX 50, Germany's DAX and France's CAC are 0.7 to 0.8 per cent lower, while the FTSE futures are down 0.4 per cent.

Meanwhile, Dow and S&P500 futures are both minimally higher.

4.04pm: Electricity company Momentum Energy has become the latest advertiser to abandon broadcaster Alan Jones over offensive comments the 2GB breakfast host made last month.

However, Momentum will continue to advertise with 2GB outside the breakfast slot, the company said in a statement.

The company joins more than 10 fleeing from association with Jones after it was reported over the weekend that he told a Sydney University Liberal Club function Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s recently deceased father ‘‘died of shame’’.

“Alan Jones comments are offensive and callous; they in no way reflect our own beliefs or values,” Momentum managing director Nigel Clark  said.

Jones this morning insisted he had been sincere when apologising to Ms Gillard on Sunday, after news of his remarks broke.

‘‘I made no qualification then to my apology and I make none now,’’ he told listeners.

Other companies to have cut ties with Jones include Telstra, Hyundai, Honda, St George Bank, Coles, Woolworths, Mercedes Benz and Challenger.

3.58pm: Most economists are still expecting at least another rate cut. The global economy is looking shaky, says Shane Oliver, head of investment strategy at AMP Capital Investors:

"We are looking to another 0.25 per cent cut in November, and then another one in February or March next year, taking the cash rate to 2.75 per cent."

Interbank futures are fully priced for a move to 3.00 per cent by Christmas. Overnight indexed swaps, which show where the market thinks the cash rate will be over time, have 2.75 per cent inked in on a 12-month horizon.

Yields on Australian 10-year bonds are under 3 per cent, so it is cheaper for the government to borrow for a decade than for banks to borrow overnight.

3.45pm: In non-rates related news, Central Petroleum shares have risen more than 11 per cent after the company announced a $150 million joint venture with oil and gas producer Santos.

The deal means the two companies will explore and potentially develop up to 13 areas in the Amadeus and Pedirka Basins in central Australia.

Santos will fund exploration by investing $30 million, with options to invest a further $60 million in stage two and a further $60 million in stage three.

3.27pm: The dollar has dropped below, $US1.03, to $US.10297, its lowest point in a month. It has also dropped below 80 euro cents, to 79.80 euro cents. Against the yen, it is now trading at 80.4.

3.25pm: Here's an interesting read from the small business desk:

Facebook, stung by doubts that advertising on the social network delivers enough bang for the buck, is preparing to unveil data to counter its critics and show that "clicks," the current metric of choice, tell only half the story.

3.20pm: Westpac senior market strategist Damien McColough said the futures market was still forecasting another three rate cuts by the middle of 2013.

‘‘The underlying message from the market is that it is too early to call the end of an easing cycle from the RBA,’’ he said.

‘‘As of June next year the market is pricing in a cash rate of about 2.4 per cent, which is more than three rate cuts.’’

3.13pm: HSBC Australia chief economist Paul Bloxham said the decision to cut was motivated by global factors.

‘‘The RBA note (in the statement) that the domestic economy still looks like its running close to trend at the moment,’’ he said.

‘‘So I think the main thing here is that inflation is low enough to have allowed them to buy a bit more insurance against slowing growth, particularly in Asia.’’

Mr Bloxham said the RBA’s statement provided no indication as to whether the central bank was looking at further interest rate cuts.

3.10pm: Consumer discretionary shares are enjoying a nice lift thanks to the RBA cut: 

3.03pm: IG Markets chief strategist Chris Weston has also weighed in, tweeting: "Some definite money flowing into retailers (JBH up 3.3%). A further 25bp cut before Christmas would be welcome relief for shoppers."

2.58pm: Economist Glenn Maguire has tweeted: "I would still expect the RBA to cut rates by 25bps in November and another 50bps in Q1-2013 given most recent data highlights Asia weakness".

2.46pm: The ASX200 enjoy a nice little boost after the rates announcement, as you can see on this graphic:

2.38pm: Here's a link to Reserve Bank Governor Glenn Stevens' statement.

2.36pm: The Australian dollar has responded to the rate cut, falling half a cent, to $US1.0319.

2.34pm: The RBA flagged weaker global growth and a high exchange rate as the reason for cutting rates.

‘‘The outlook for growth in the world economy has softened over recent months, with estimates for global GDP being edged down, and risks to the outlook still seen to be on the downside,’’ governor Glenn Stevens said in his accompanying statement. ‘‘Economic activity in Europe is contracting, while growth in the United States remains modest."

‘‘Growth in China has also slowed, and uncertainty about near-term prospects is greater than it was some months ago.’’

"Key commodity prices for Australia remain significantly lower than earlier in the year, even though some have regained some ground in recent weeks.’’

2.32pm: The Bank of Queensland has responded, deciding not to pass on the full cut, instead passing on 20 basis points.

2.32pm: It is the lowest the cash rate has been since October 2009.

The latest cut follows a quarter of a percentage point reduction in June, that followed a half a percentage point cut in May.

2.30pm: The RBA has cut the official cash rate by 25 basis points, leaving it at 3.25 per cent.

2.28pm: Malaysian privately-owned property developer Naza TTDI agreed today with Australia's Lend Lease to jointly develop a mixed-use property project with potential gross development value of 4 billion ringgit ($1.26 billion).

The joint venture will develop 10.94 acres of land in Kuala Lumpur to include a regional retail centre, office, hotel and residences, according to a statement by Naza.

The project is part of a bigger development by Naza called KL Metropolis, an international trade and exhibition district that is expected to be completed by 2025, Naza said.

2.17pm: The global economy will need to have created 600 million new jobs between 2005 and 2020 to absorb young people entering the work force, spur development, empower women and prevent unrest, the World Bank said.

In its World Development Report released yesterday, the bank said jobs should be at the top of governments’ agendas less than two years after the lack of employment opportunities helped fuel the uprisings that toppled leaders in Egypt and Tunisia. The effects extend beyond the economic sphere, making job creation a cornerstone to development, the report said.

“Demographic shifts, technological progress, and the lasting effects of the international financial crisis are reshaping the employment landscape in countries around the world,” World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said in a foreword to the report.

“Countries that successfully adapt to these changes and meet their jobs challenges can achieve dramatic gains in living standards, productivity growth, and more cohesive societies.”

2.10pm: As we approach our own rate decision, let’s cast our eyes overseas. The Bank of Japan is expected to keep monetary settings unchanged on Friday even as weakening manufacturing activity in Asia continues to cloud the outlook, preferring to spend some time reviewing the effect of its policy loosening last month.

This week's meeting will precede a more important rate review on October 30, when the BOJ is likely to cut its long-term economic and price forecasts, and acknowledge that Japan remains years away from achieving the bank's 1 per cent inflation target.

That will keep the central bank under pressure to offer further stimulus, despite boosting asset purchases just last month as sagging exports to China and Europe delay a recovery in the world's third-largest economy.

2.03pm: A US court removed a temporary sales ban against Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 won by Apple in a patent dispute, allowing the South Korean company to sell the product in the United States.

While the Galaxy 10.1 is an older model, the lifting of the ban could still help Samsung in the run-up to the pivotal holiday shopping season.

"We are pleased with the court's action today, which vindicates our position that there was no infringement of Apple's design patent and that an injunction was not called for," Samsung said in a statement.

Separately, Samsung filed a motion against Apple saying the iPhone 5 had infringed on some of the company's patents.

1.52pm: BusinessDay's Elizabeth Knight has filed on the High Court's ruling over allegations brought against Andrew Forrest by ASIC: Twiggy out of the woods.

Andrew Forrest has once again beaten the system, the odds and the corporate cops — the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.

The High Court of Australia handed down a decision today that the iron ore billionaire had not misled his shareholders, didn't engage in deceptive conduct and didn't contravene continuous disclosure obligations or his directors' duties.

It was a comprehensive victory for Forrest and the now multi-billion dollar company he started 10 years ago from his living room in Perth.

The spectre of being banned from being a company director — the ignominy and the practical consequences that go with that — has now disappeared.

1.42pm: Former Billabong surfwear boss Matthew Perrin has appeared in court charged with defrauding the Commonwealth Bank of $13.5 million.

Perrin was charged this week with fraud following a three-year investigation by the State Crime Operations Commands Fraud and Corporate Crime Group.

It’s alleged he defrauded the bank in 2008 by providing false documents and a guarantee relating to mortgages taken out on a home on the Gold Coast.

Police are alleging Perrin forged the signature of his now ex-wife Nicole Bricknell.

1.28pm: Central Petroleum shares have risen more than 18 per cent after the company announced a $150 million joint venture with oil and gas producer Santos.

The deal means the two companies will explore and potentially develop up to 13 areas in the Amadeus and Pedirka Basins in central Australia. Santos will fund exploration by investing $30 million, with options to invest a further $60 million in stage two and a further $60 million in stage three.

Central Petroleum shares are up 2.5 cents, or 18.5 per cent, at 16 cents and Santos shares are up 28 cents, or 2.6 per cent, at $11.57 cents.

1.20pm: ''Most people are expecting some form of cuts before the end of the year” from the RBA, St George Bank chief economist Hans Kunnen tells Bloomberg.

“It’s the exact timing that’s causing some uncertainty. If they cut today, those who were not expecting it could react by selling down the Aussie.”

The Australian dollar is buying $US1.0374 after falling as much as 0.5 per cent to $US1.0326, its weekest since September 11, before closing at $US1.0361.

Nine of the 28 economists surveyed by Bloomberg expect the RBA will reduce its benchmark by 25 basis points today, while 19 forecast no change. Central bank governor Glenn Stevens lowered the overnight cash rate target by a total of 1.25 percentage points from November to June to help shield the domestic economy from Europe’s debt crisis and slower growth in China.

In minutes of its September meeting, the RBA signaled it had scope to reduce rates further should the outlook for the economy deteriorate significantly.

1.11pm: Fortescue Metals has welcomed its High Court victory against the corporate regulator, calling the long-running case an expensive distraction.

Shares in Fortescue, which had been in a trading halt this morning, are 7 cents higher at $3.57.

The High Court upheld an appeal by Fortescue and its chairman Andrew ‘‘Twiggy’’ Forrest against a Federal Court ruling that they misled investors in 2004 by misrepresenting the nature of agreements with three Chinese entities.

Fortescue deputy chairman Herb Elliott said the decision brought ‘‘an end to an eight-year long process that ASIC thought was appropriate but was ultimately determined to be wrong.’’

‘‘ASIC’s allegations have been an expensive distraction,’’ he said in a statement. ‘‘We can now focus our full attention to ensuring the continued success of Fortescue Metals Group for many years to come.’’

Fortescue has been awarded full costs from each of the Federal Court, Full Federal Court and High Court proceedings.

1.03pm: Crude oil is higher after data showed the US manufacturing sector bounced back in September following three months of contraction, analysts say.

New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in November, has added three cents to $US92.51 a barrel and Brent North Sea crude for November delivery has gained 16 cents to $US112.35.

"Oil advanced... as US manufacturing unexpectedly expanded," Phillip Futures says in a report.

12.53pm: Think customer service in Australia is bad? It's only getting worse, writes blogger Tony Featherstone, as smartphone-addicted staff spend work time texting and emailing, rather than serving customers.  

Read the blog here.

12.43pm: Stan Shamu from IG Markets says ‘‘we’ve had some positive momentum from the European and US sessions’’.

‘‘So we’ve been fairly ‘risk on’ this morning.’’

He says investors  are waiting to see if the RBA will  announce an interest rate cut this afternoon.

Mr Shamu says views are divided on whether the RBA would cut the cash rate from 3.5 per cent or keep it on hold.

‘‘It’s very much a line-ball call.’’

12.27pm: While recent home price gains are encouraging (for home owners), we are not yet convinced that prices have bottomed in all capital cities, ANZ writes in a research note:

Weakening local economic activity and forecast increases in unemployment suggest home prices in Hobart, Melbourne, Adelaide and Canberra remain vulnerable.

New dwelling approvals remain well below underlying housing demand and accelerating rents will see rental affordability deteriorate adding to the difficulties facing low income households.

12.16pm: The dollar is trading higher at $US1.0370, buoyed by manufacturing data from the US overnight.

Any further rise in the Australian dollar could be halted by the RBA’s rates decision, CMC Markets foreign exchange dealer Tim Waterer says.

‘‘I don’t think we’re going to see any break out moves in the interim,’’ he says. ‘‘All bets are off until we see what the RBA has to say.’’

12.03pm: Australia is set to get a condensed version of the US Federal Reserve’s Beige Book, which collects anecdotes from business to inform US monetary policy decisions, but in 140 characters or less via Twitter.

CommSec Economics said it is launching the Australian Beige Book, using Twitter to encourage businesses nationwide to provide short snippets of insight on the health of the Australian economy.

Businesses will be asked to use the #ozbeigebook hashtag on Twitter and state their region, industry, and give an impression of how their business is doing. An example provided by CommSec demonstrates the brevity needed:

#ozbeigebook clothing retailer, Canberra, hard to get staff, consumers fearful, high Aussie dollar hurting, rate cut boosted sales

- @commsec

11.50am: Nine Entertainment has confirmed our earlier story of the Bauer-ACP deal clearing its final hurdle.

“We are pleased to have completed the sale of ACP.  Bauer Media is one of the world’s largest magazine groups, and they were a logical owner for the business”, says Nine Entertainment Co CEO David Gyngell.

Gyngell says there would be close ongoing collaboration between Nine Entertainment Co and ACP:

“Nine and ACP will continue to work extensively together in the years ahead.  In Sales, we will maintain focused ongoing cooperation between Nine, ACP and Mi9 through our Powered division.  We will also continue to cross-promote ACP and Nine brands across the two companies,” he said.

11.45am: The market is holding onto its early gains but a bigger push higher seems unlikely ahead of the much anticipated rates decision by the Reserve Bank today.

"A rate cut today looks like a line-ball decision for the RBA," says CMC Markets analyst Ric Spooner.

Any cut would trigger a rally in stocks that would benefit from a weaker currency or improved domestic spending, he says.

Interbank futures have narrowed the odds, factoring in around a 70 per cent chance of a 25 basis point cut to 3.25 per cent. Economists are less convinced, with the majority forecasting the RBA will keep rates on hold.

11.35am: Among the indices, energy stocks are up 0.8 per cent, financials are up 0.5 per cent, gold stocks have gained 1.2 per cent and miners are up 0.9 per cent.

11.27am: Stocks, as the chart above shows, continue to climb. The ASX200 is now up 26.6 points, or 0.6 per cent, to 4415.2.

11.22am: Australia's home values rose 1.4 per cent in September, the largest monthly rise since the same month in 2010, as lower interest rates attracted Spring buyers, new figures show.

The jump in values will provide relief to vendors and other industry players who have struggled with falling or stagnant prices for the past two years since the market peaked in 2010, Simon Johanson reports.

‘‘The strong performance of the housing market since the beginning of June has reversed the value falls recorded earlier in the year, putting dwelling values 0.8 per cent higher over the first nine months of the year,’’ according to property analysts RP Data.

Analyst Tim Lawless attributes to rebound in values in September to low interest rates being charged by banks on mortgages.

“It’s no coincidence that housing market conditions bottomed out at the end of May, after the Reserve Bank cut the official cash rate by 50 basis points,’’ he says.

Here's the full story.

11.14am: Investors are continuing to flock toward Arrium Limited, the Australian steel and iron ore company at the centre of a takeover bid by Korean interests, Peter Ker reports.

Shares in Arrium have risen another 5 cents, or 7.4 per cent, to 73 cents.

That means the stock is now close to the 75 cent offer price lodged yesterday by a consortium involving Korean steel giant Posco, Korean investment funds and Hong Kong commodities firm Noble.

Arrium shares are now well above the 55 cent territory they were treading on Friday before the offer was lobbed.

Arrium was known as OneSteel prior to a branding change earlier this year.

11.08am: RBS Morgans private client adviser Bill Bishop says the Australian market has followed strong overseas leads, especially from Europe. European stocks and the euro rallied as traders tracked Spanish debt strains and the revival of a merger bid by commodities sector giants Xstrata and Glencore.

‘‘It was a nice run for the Europeans after the Spanish banks passed the stress tests. The overall market has risen across the board,’’ Mr Bishop says.

There is also optimism in the market that the RBA will cut the cash rate when it reveals the outcome of it October board meeting this afternoon, he says.

11.01am: Qantas is continuing to make headlines this morning... the airline will have to pay the tax office $34 million in GST it collected from passengers who booked tickets but then didn’t turn up for their flights.

In a landmark ruling, the court determined Qantas had still provided a service to those customers and therefore owed the ATO the outstanding GST. The tax office claimed Qantas and its budget subsidiary Jetstar owed $26.6 million in GST collected on unused tickets, and that the flying kangaroo owed another $7.6 million on fares for which no refunds were ever claimed.

Qantas says that as it never actually provided the flights to those particular passengers, it did not owe the tax. But the ATO, whose claim related to GST collected in the first eight years of the tax, successfully argued the airline had provided a service by keeping the fares for its customers.

The case could have implications for other businesses that charge GST on non-refundable tickets, such as tour companies and other transport operators.

10.56am: The NSW government should use a key report from former premier Nick Greiner to reconsider a second airport for Sydney, federal Transport Minister Anthony Albanese says.

Mr Greiner, the head of Infrastructure NSW is on Wednesday expected to recommend a second airport, with Badgerys Creek being tipped as the site.

His long-awaited report is expected to support a recent joint state-federal study that recommends planning on the second airport start immediately and for it to be built by 2027.

But NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell has ruled out another Sydney airport and instead backs an upgrade of Canberra airport. He says said it could be linked to Sydney by a high-speed rail line.

10.50am: Tokyo stocks have opened 0.39 per cent higher, following gains on Wall Street which was lifted by better-than-expected manufacturing data.

The Nikkei 225 index at the Tokyo Stock Exchange is up 34.17 points at 8830.68 in early trade.

10.43am: Here’s why Qantas shares are up... the airline has moved to strengthen its air cargo network with the acquisition of 100 per cent of the air freight business Australian Air Express.

Qantas will also sell its 50 per cent stake in freight and logistics business StarTrack to Australia Post, receiving net proceeds of $408 million.

Under joint venture arrangements since 2003, Qantas and Australia Post each currently owns 50 per cent of Australian Air Express and StarTrack.

Qantas Group Chief Executive Alan Joyce said the acquisition of Australian Air Express will boost a core business area.

10.39am: The dollar, meanwhile, has edged higher - it's now at $US1.0370.

Back to rates tips... Most economists are tipping the benchmark rate will remain unchanged this afternoon, with 13 of 19 surveyed by Reuters forecasting the RBA will keep rates on hold.

10.32am: The High Court has ruled mining billionaire Andrew Forrest and his iron ore company Fortescue Metals did not mislead investors.

The court upheld an appeal by Mr Forrest and Fortescue against a Federal Court decision they misled investors in 2004 by misrepresenting the nature of agreements with three Chinese entities. Mr Forrest was facing possible disqualification as a company director.

Fortescue struck framework agreements with the state-owned Chinese companies for the building and transfer of a rail line and port in the Pilbara in Western Australia.

ASIC began proceedings six years ago against Mr Forrest and Fortescue alleging he misrepresented the accords. The corporate watchdog lost a Federal Court case in 2009 but successfully appealed that decision in 2011.

10.27am: Here are the best performers on the ASX200: Arrium +5.9%, Gindalbie Metals +5.4%, Saracen +4.4%.

And the worst: Imdex -1.8%, Macquarie Atlas -1.4%,  Transpacific -1.1%.

10.22am: In the US, the New York attorney general’s office has hit JPMorgan Chase with a civil lawsuit, alleging that Bear Stearns perpetrated massive fraud related to residential mortgage-backed securities that it sold prior to its 2008 collapse and subsequent sale to the New York bank.

The suit is the first to be filed under the auspices of the RMBS Working Group, set up by President Barack Obama to investigate and prosecute alleged misconduct that contributed to the financial crisis.

NY AG Eric T Schneiderman alleges that Bear Stearns led investors to believe that the loans in its RMBS portfolio had been carefully evaluated and would be continuously monitored. But Schneiderman alleges that Bear Stearns failed to do either.

JPMorgan Chase spokesman Joseph Evangelisti says the bank intends to contest the allegations.

10.17am: The ASX200 is now 0.4 per cent to 4404.4. Among the indices, gold stocks are up 0.9 per cent, financials are 0.3 per cent higher and miners are up 0.7 per cent.

10.13am: Here are how some of the blue chips are performing so far:

  • BHP +0.6%
  • Rio +0.6%
  • ANZ +0.2%
  • CBA +0.1%
  • NAB +0.3%
  • Westpac +0.1%
  • Woolworths steady
  • Wesfarmers -0.1%
  • Telstra +0.4%
  • Qantas 2.5%

10.09am: Iron ore miner Fortescue Metals Group has entered a trading halt this morning, nearly three weeks after concerns about its debt levels in a weakening commodities market sent the stock plunging, Peter Ker reports.

Shares in the company were halted ‘‘pending the release of an announcement,’’ it said. Fortescue expects to remain in trading halt until Thursday morning, or the release of the update to the market.

Fortescue shares last traded at $3.50 last night.

10.05am: Here's an early take: the ASX200 is up 7.7 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 4396.3.

10.03am: Investors were also relieved by the results of Spain’s bank stress test, which were less bad than feared, driving gains in European financial shares.

Spanish banks will need 59.3 billion euros in extra capital to ride out a serious economic downturn, an independent report showed late on Friday, matching market expectations. The country is expected to need international help to meet its debt financing needs.

The markets are still awaiting the outcome of credit agency Moody's review of Spain's sovereign debt rating. Spain, Europe's fourth largest economy, may be downgraded to junk status, piling pressure on it to seek an international bailout soon.

"A downgrade could force Spain's hand in seeking a bailout and should see a relief rally in the euro," says Adam Myers, senior foreign exchange strategist at Credit Agricole. "But until that happens, weak economic data will add to the downward pressure on the euro."

Spain is also ready to request a eurozone bailout for its public finances as early as next weekend, but Germany has signalled that it should hold off, European officials said overnight.

9.59am: Australia's retail sector is not doomed, but businesses wanting to survive must continue to adapt, follow the "gold veins" and test new products, says Just Jeans founder Craig Kimberley.

Kimberley, who with his family built Just Jeans from one store to about 280 across Australia and New Zealand, says that while online selling has revolutionised retail, the sector has always been about change.

"The only certain thing in retail is change," says the 71-year-old.

More here.

9.53am: Commonwealth Bank interest rate strategist Phillip Brown says international data may have pushed bonds up yesterday, but the RBA meeting will be the main influence today.

The December 10-year bond futures contract is trading at 97.070 (implying a yield of 2.930 per cent), down from 97.120 (2.880 per cent) at Monday’s close.

‘‘We had Chinese manufacturing data yesterday which was better than previous, but not as good as hoped, and that triggered a rally,’’ he says.

‘‘But since then, I think bond prices have probably been pushed around by international moves as the market waits for the RBA decision this afternoon.’’

9.45am: The data also shows that traders are tipping cuts of 107 basis points over the next 12 months - or a bit more than four 25 basis-point cuts.

9.40am: The big talking point for today will be the Reserve Bank's decision on interest rates at 2.30pm AEST. The latest data from Credit Suisse shows that traders are now expecting a 67 per cent chance of a 25-basis-point cut. That's down from 78 per cent yesterday afternoon.

9.34am: For a comprehensive look at this morning’s business news, check today’s need2know. Here are this morning’s key market links:

What you need to know

  • SPI futures are 19 points higher at 4313
  • The $A is higher at $US1.0369
  • In the US, the S&P500 rose 0.27% to 1444.49
  • In Europe, the FTSE100 rose 1.37% to 5820.45
  • Iron ore was unchanged at $US104.20 a tonne
  • Gold rose $4.10 to $US1778 an ounce
  • WTI crude oil rose 15 cents to $US92.34 a barrel
  • Reuters/Jefferies CRB index is steady at 309.30

9.30am: Hi everyone. Welcome to the Markets Live blog for Tuesday.

Contributors: Peter Litras, Jens Meyer, Max Mason

This blog is not intended as investment advice

BusinessDay with agencies