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Market Update

Aussie Dollar Spikes Up, Markets in Sydney Trim Weekly Gains


Author: Marcus Jacob
ticker.com
Last Update: 9:30 AM ET February 20 2015

5:30 PM Sydney Australian market indexes eased and the Aussie dollar spiked above 78 U.S. cents. For the week, market indexes closed flat as investors worried the fate of Greek debt negotiations. Santos Ltd annual revenues rose 12% but swung to net loss. James Hardie reported rising revenues across all markets.

Australian stocks opened lower and traded down all day in an active session as investors worried on the rising tensions in the euro zone.

In addition, closer to home, markets around Asia are expected to be closed to celebrate Chinese Lunar Year as migrants return home in the interior parts of China and businesses shut down.

Australian dollar closed at 78.08 U.S. cents and in stock trading turnover dropped to 709 million shares worth $4.5 billion.

ASX 200 Index slipped 22.70 or 0.4% to 5,881.50 and broader All Ordinaries Index fell 24.20 to 5,845.60.

For the week, ASX 200 edged down 0.06%.

In commodities trading, gold dropped US$8 to US$1,208 an ounce and light crude oil slipped 99 cents to US$51.83 a barrel.

Brent crude rose 32 cents to close at US$60.53 a barrel.

Australian Stock Movers

DUET Group closed unchanged at $2.66 after the diversified utility and energy supplier said revenues in the first-half ending in December surged five-fold to $255 million form $51 million a year ago period.

Net in the period swung to profit $136 million compared to a loss of $263 million and diluted earnings per share swung to 1 cent from a loss per share of 2 cents in the same period a year ago.

Medibank Private Limited declined 3.5% to $2.47 after the healthcare company stated total sales in the first-half ending in December soared 41.8% to $111.96 million from $78.97 million a year ago period.

Net profit in the period tumbled 87.4% to $11.87 million compared to $94 million and diluted earnings per share declined to 3.7 cents from break even per share in the same period a year ago.

Santos Limited dropped 2.5% to $8.03 after the oil and gas producer reported revenues in the years ending in December climbed 12.2% to $4.04 billion from $3.60 billion a year ago period.

Net in the period swung to a loss of $935 million compared to profit of $516 million and diluted loss per share swung to a 95.6 cents from earnings per share of 53 cents in the same period a year ago.

The company said during the period non-cash impairment after tax of about $1.6 billion while underlying profit climbed 6% to $533 million.

STW Communications Group Ltd plunged 22.9% to 79 cents after the advertising and diversified communication company said revenues in the year ending in December jumped 11.4% to $452.6 million from $406.2 million a year ago period.

Net income in the year declined 9.8% to $44.58 million compared to $49.45 million and diluted earnings per share dropped to 11.06 cents from 12.34 cents in the same period a year ago.

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Sources: Data collected by 123jump.com and Ticker.com from company press releases, filings and corporate websites. Market data: BATS Exchange. Inc