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Market Update

Australian Building Approvals Plunge 11%, Aussie Dollar at 2-month Low

Author: Marcus Jacob
Last Update: 9:09 AM ET November 03 2014

5:30 PM Sydney – Australian markets declined after gold dropped and the Aussie dollar hit a two-month low and Australian building approvals plunged in September 11%. Westpac Banking reported annual cash profit increased 8% and announced final dividend of 92 cents per share.

Australian market indexes closed lower and the Aussie dollar inched lower to a two-week low.

Investors were cautious after local building approvals were weaker than expected and a private report showed China’s manufacturing increased to a 3-month high in October.

Australian dollar slipped to 87.36 U.S. cents and in stock-trading turnover declined to 645 million shares worth $3.78 billion.

ASX 200 Index fell 19.70 or 0.4% to 5,506.90 and broader All Ordinaries Index slid 20 to 5,485.

In commodities trading, gold declined US$26 to US$1,169 an ounce and light crude oil slumped 58 cents to US$80.54 a barrel.

Australian building approvals declined more than expected in September to a thirteen-month low, the Australian Bureau of Statistics reported today.

Approvals plunged 11% to 15,004, sharply lower than the expectations of 1% decline.

Australian Stock Movers

Brambles Limited gained 0.7% to $9.60 after the pallet pooling service provider reported total revenue in the first-quarter ending in September soared 7% to US$1.37 billion from a year ago period.

For the year, the company forecasted underlying profit of in the range of US$1.06 billion to US$1.09 billion.

Mirvac Group closed unchanged at $1.80 after the real estate developer agreed to acquire a portfolio of five industrial assets from Altis Real Estate Equity Partnership Fund for a total consideration of $224.1 million.

The transaction is expected to close in early 2015.

Crown Resorts Ltd fell 0.2% to $14.44 after the gaming and entertainment group amended the Melbourne Casino license and agreed to pay $250 million to the Victorian government within seven days.

Woolworths Limited declined 4.9% to $34.24 after the food and liquor retailer said total sales in the first-quarter ending in September jumped 3% to $16.15 billion from $15.68 billion in a year ago period.

Petrol sales dropped 4.5% but New Zealand supermarket sales increased 1%. Sales from hotel segment fell 1% while sales from home improvement business surged 20.7% and revenues from home timber and hardware segments climbed 12%.

The company added online sales across the group in the quarter soared 30%.

Westpac Banking Corp slipped 0.7% to $34.55 after the banking and financial service provider reported revenue in the year ending in September climbed 7% to $32.25 billion form $33 billion a year ago period.

Net profit in the year surged 12% to $7.56 billion compared to $6.75 billion and diluted earnings per share jumped to 238.7 cents from 213.5 cents in the same period a year ago.

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