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Market Update

Australian Auto Sales Fall; Aurizon Net Rises 1%, BlueScope Plunged 14%

Author: Marcus Jacob
Last Update: 10:58 AM ET August 19 2013

4:30 PM Sydney – Australian investors digested a flood of earnings and trading volume perked up near the high of the year. Australian new car sales declined 3.5%. Z Energy Limited and Birch and Prestige Investment Group debuted on the ASX. Aurizon, freight rail road operator said annual net increased 1%.

Australian indexes traded in a tight range with a downward bias as investors focused on earnings.

Earnings season is expected to be at its peak in the week.

Australian dollar jumped to 92.13 U.S. cents and in stock trading turnover increased to 748 million shares worth $4.6 billion.

The ASX 200 index slid 1.40 to close at 5,112.50 and the broader All Ordinaries rose 2.20 to 5,102.30.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics reported new cars sales in July dropped 3.5% to 93,797 units but rose 3% from a year ago.

Stocks in Review

Rio Tinto rose 6 cents to $60.14 and plan to reduce the stake in copper and gold mine of Northparkes in Central West NSW.

BHP gained 17 cents to $37.04 and Woodside Petroleum Limited jumped 41 cents to $38.70.

Westpac climbed 31 cents to $31.57 and the bank and Australia and New Zealand Banking Group are among the bidders that shortlisted to acquire Australian asset-finance and commercial-lending units of Lloyds Banking Group Plc.

National Australia Bank added 8 cents to $31.36.

Aurizon Holdings Limited slid 0.9% to $4.53 after the rail freight operator reported net profit in the year rose 1% to $447 million and EBIT climbed 29% to $754 million from $584 million a year earlier. Underlying net profit-after-tax jumped 16% to $487 million compared to $420 million a year ago.

Bendigo and Adelaide Bank Limited closed unchanged at $10.60 after the bank said net profit for the year soared 80% to $352.3 million $137.1 million a year earlier.

The bank’s cash profit for the year increased 7.7% to $348 million compared to $323 million in last year.

Dexus Property Group fell 1% to $1.01 after the industrial and retail property developer said revenue in the year dropped 14% to $653 million. Net profit for the year tripled to $514.5 million compared to $181 million a year earlier.

BlueScope Steel Limited plunged 14.1% to $4.70 after the steel producer reported revenue in the year ending in June declined $7.29 billion from $8.47 billion a year ago. Net loss in the year narrowed to $84.1 million compared to $1.04 billion a year earlier.

For the year, the steel maker said underlying profit swung to a $29.7 million compared to loss of $237.5 million a year ago.

The steel producer issued a cautious outlook and said uncertainty in domestic demand is likely to keep first-half results weak in the current year.

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