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Market Update

Australia Awaits Rate Decision, Westpac Reports Record Net and Hikes Dividend

Author: Marcus Jacob
Last Update: 9:30 AM ET November 04 2013

4:30 PM Sydney – Australian markets traded lower and investors took a cautious view ahead of rate decision tomorrow. Westpac reported record annual profit and issued a special dividend of $310 million or 10 cents a share. Coca Cola Amatil estimated annual net to decline between 5% and 7%.

Australian stocks opened higher and steadily lost momentum and closed down. Westpac reported record earnings but Coca Cola Amatil declined 5% after it lowered its earnings outlook.

The National Bureau of Statistics reported China''s purchasing managers'' index rose 0.3 points to 51.4 points in September.

A private survey index, the HSBC China Manufacturing Purchasing managers'' index came in at 50.9 in October jumped 50.2 from the month before.

Australian manufacturing activity expanded to a 3-year high in last month.

In October, the Australian industry group''s performance of manufacturing index increased 1.5 points, manufacturing activity expanded to a three-year high in September.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics reported retail spending rose by 0.8% in the month and 0.7% in the September quarter and also said Australian capital city house prices jumped 1.9% increase of 2.7% in the June quarter.

In the year to September, the Bureau of Statistics said house price index soared 7.6%.

Australian dollar decreased to 94.81 U.S. cents. In stock trading, turnover climbed to 1.1 billion shares worth $3.6 billion.

The ASX 200 index fell 20.60 or 0.3% to close at 5,390.50 and the broader All Ordinaries slid 22.30 to 5,384.20.

Stocks in Review

Rio Tinto gained 18 cents to $63.72 and BHP slid 1 cent to $37.52. Woodside Petroleum Limited fell 5 cents to $38.80.

Westpac jumped 30 cents to $34.90 despite the company reported cash profit for the year to a record $7.1 billion.

The bank reported interest income for the year ending in September dropped 10% to $33 billion from $36.9 billion a year ago. Net income for the year climbed 14% to $6.89 billion compared to $6.04 billion and diluted earnings per share increased 13% to 215.5 cents to 190.5 cents a year earlier.

The bank also issued a special dividend of 10 cents a share of $310 million. The special dividend and final dividend of 98 cents a share will be paid on December 19.

Impact Minerals Limited soared 4.4% to 4.7 cents after the uranium explorer acquired a third party’s 20% and 25% stake in the two tenements in Mulga Tank nickel project, 200 km northeast of in Western Australia worth $170,000 in cash.

Leighton Holdings Limited rose 0.4% to $17.55 after the engineering construction company and in a joint venture with Boral Limited and U.K.-based Amey construction group won a seven year road asset management in New South Wales, valued at about $100 million a year.

Transpacific Industries Group Ltd dropped 2.7% to $1.10 after the company said U.S.-based private equity firm Warburg Pincus LLC Warburg Pincus sold its 33.9% stake of Australia’s waste management firm at an increased price of $570 million or $1.05 per share from initial offering of $400 million.

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