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Market Update

Australian Construction Shrank 2%, New Home Sales Gained 3.9%

Author: Marcus Jacob
Last Update: 7:48 AM ET May 29 2013

5:00 PM Sydney – Australian market index inched up for the second day in a row after five-day sell-off. Construction work in the March quarter unexpectedly declined. New home sales increased 3.9% to 6,000 units in April.

The ASX 200 index inched up 4 to 4,974.70 and the broader All Ordinaries added 8.60 to 4,959.20.

Australian dollar plummeted to 95.53 cents against the U.S. dollar and in stock trading turnover climbed to 888 million worth $5.2 billion.

Construction work in Australia declined 2% to $51.05 billion in the quarter ending in March, according to the data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Homes and non-residential construction work shrank 1.1% from December quarter. However the industry expanded 0.2% from a year ago period.

In a separate report, new home sales in April increased 3.9% to 6,000, according to the data released by the Housing Industry Association.

In addition, the index of leading economic indicators declined to 3.9 in March from 4.1 in February. The Westpac-Melbourne Institute Leading Index was still higher than its long term trend of 2.8% but the investment in the mining sector is weakening.

Stocks in Review

Rio Tinto climbed $1.82 to $54.70 and BHP jumped 89 cents to $34.87.

Woodside Petroleum Limited decreased 18 cents to $36.50.

David Jones Limited slid 7 cents to $2.56 and Breville Group gained 19 cents to $7.39.

Woolworths rose 23 cents to $33.13.

Mirvac Group fell 1 cent to $1.67. Lend Lease added 6 cents to $10.17.

Westpac dropped 75 cents to $28.72, Commonwealth declined 2.5% to $66.89 and National Australia Bank slumped 1.8% to $30.55 and ANZ fell 1.7% to $27.60.

Australia and New Zealand Banking Group dropped 48 cents to $27.60 after the bank plan to buy-back of ordinary shares worth $425 million after June 13.

Aristocrat Leisure Limited surged 6.2% to $4.30 after the gambling related company reported revenues in the first-half ending in March declined 7.5% to $380.486 million and net profit soared 11.2% to $52.544 million compared to $34.70 million a year ago period.

Ebos Group Limited gained after the New Zealand based healthcare company agreed to acquire Australia based Zuellig Healthcare Holdings Australia Pty Ltd “Symbion Ltd” for NZ$865 million or approx $700 million.

Wesfarmers Limited declined 2.6% to $40.14 after the supermarket operator said capital expenditure for fiscal year in the range of $1.5 billion to $1.7 billion and in the first-half the company reported net profit of $1.28 billion.

The company expects growth in the retail stores despite the weakness in its Target business.

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