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Market Update

Australia Indexes Soar 2% on Rising Possibilities of U.S. Rate Hike

Author: Marcus Jacob
Last Update: 9:09 AM ET November 19 2015

5:30 PM Sydney, Australia ASX 200 Index soared 2.1% on positive company news and a rally in resource sector. Stocks also advanced on the optimism that the U.S. economy is strong enough to withstand a rate increase as early as December.

Stock indexes in Sydney closed higher after the U.S. Federal Reserve officials signaled that the rate hike is likely at the next Fed meeting in December.

In the last two weeks several Fed officials have been offering comments suggesting that the U.S. economy is strong enough to withstand rate increase for the first time after a decade.

The strong overnight gains of the U.S. market, where the S&P 500 closed up 1.6%, lifted Australian markets as well.

In Sydney, BHP Billiton jumped 3.1% and Rio Tinto surged 4%, while Newcrest Mining surged 5.3%.

OzForex Group Limited surged 30% on the news for an acquisition offer from the U.S.-based Western Union. BlueScope said operating profit for the first-half to jump 40% to $50 million.

Programmed Maintenance Services net swung to a loss of $18.7 million.

The Australian dollar eased to 71.67 U.S. cents, while in stock trading turnover was increased 817 million shares worth $5.5 billion.

At the close, the ASX 200 Index jumped 109.50 or 2.1% to 5,242.60 and the broader All Ordinaries Index soared 104.20 to 5,293.30.

In commodities trading, gold gained US$8 to US$1,077 an ounce and Brent crude future for immediate month delivery edged up 14 cents to US$44.28 a barrel.

Australian Stock Movers

BlueScope Steel Limited surged 5.3% to $4.37 after the metal coated and painted steel building products maker confirmed that it expects operating profit for the fist-half of 2016 to jump 40% to $50 million from a year ago period.

Healthscope Limited reached $2.85 after the healthcare services provider announced the issue of 2.99 million shares at a price of $2.72 per share as part of the consideration to acquire The Hunter Valley Private Hospital.

Ozforex Group Ltd surged 30% to $3.38 after the payment and foreign exchange service provider received preliminary and non-binding offer from the U.S.-based money transfer services provider Western Union for up to $888 million, or about $3.70 per share.

Programmed Maintenance Services Limited plunged 5% to $2.84 after the staffing, maintenance services provider said revenues in the first-half ending in September fell 1% from a year ago to $709.7 million.

Net in the period swung to a loss of $18.7 million compared to profit of $9.8 million and diluted loss per share swung to a 15.2 cents from diluted earnings per share of 8 cents.

Sandfire Resources NL jumped 3.1% to $5.67 after the mining and exploration group agreed to acquire 47.24 million shares in the North American Copper Development Company Tintina Resources.

The deal will lift its stake to 57% from 36% at a price per share of $0.083.

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