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Market Update

Australian Construction Shrinks 3.6%, Fortescue Buys Back Bonds

Author: Marcus Jacob
Last Update: 11:45 AM ET November 25 2015

5:30 PM Sydney, Australia Stock markets in Australia decline as tension between Turkey and Russia escalated. The Utilities Trust of Australia secure electricity transmission network contract for $10 billion from the New South Wales government.]

The broad Australian markets were negatively affected by the rising political tensions in the Middle East, but losses remained limited due to strength in the energy sector.

Energy stocks recorded gains as tension between Turkey and Russia led to a spike in global oil prices.

Origin Energy jumped 3.13% to $5.61 and Santos rose 3.47% to $4.17.

A consortium led by Utilities Trust of Australia, which includes Canadian and Abu Dhabi investment funds, secured the contract on electricity transmission network TransGrid from the New South Wales state government.

The value of the contract is about $10 billion.

Construction work in Australia declined in the third quarter by 3.6% to $49 billion on a seasonally adjusted basis, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The value of residential work done in the quarter rose 2% to $15.5 billion compared to the same period a year ago.

The Australian dollar rose to 72.67 U.S. cents, while in stock trading turnover dropped to 762 million shares worth $4.7 billion.

At the close, the ASX 200 Index decreased 32.70 or 0.6% to 5,193.70 and the broader All Ordinaries Index slumped 31.80 to 5,245.20.

In commodities trading, gold increased US$7 to US$1,079 an ounce and Brent crude future for immediate month delivery added 24 cents to US$46.36 a barrel.

Australian Stock Movers

Australian Agricultural Company Ltd increased 2.4% to $1.50 after the packaged meat producer reported a surge in earnings and revenues on record cattle prices in both the domestic and export markets.

Total revenues in the first-half ending in September soared 71% from a year ago to $258.2 million.

Net in the period swung to profit of $49.8 million compared to a loss of $13.6 million a year ago. Diluted earnings per share rose to 9 cents per share, compared to diluted loss per share of 3 cents a year ago.

Fortescue Metals Group agreed to repay through a tender offer for $750 million of unsecured notes due in 2019 and 2022.

The iron ore miner will register one-time gain of US$124 million related to the repurchase of notes and save US$56 million in interest payment annually.

Paladin Energy Ltd jumped 2.3% to 22.5 cents after the uranium producer announced the repurchased US$11 million worth of its outstanding convertible bonds.

The cash expenditure reached US$9.9 million and bonds were purchased at an average price of 90% of the issue price.

Surfstitch Group Ltd was halted at $2.06 after the online sports apparel retailer agreed to acquire rival Surf Hardware International Pty Limited for about $23.7 million.

The deal comes after a series of acquisitions, which expanded the business of the former Billabong spin-off from pure online retail into manufacturing, digital media, and bricks-and-mortar retail.

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