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Market Update

Australian Dollar Advances, Rio Tinto Lifts Production Outlook


Author: Marcus Jacob
ticker.com
Last Update: 8:42 AM ET October 15 2013

4:30 PM Sydney – Australian and Asian markets traded higher and commodities prices gained. Business finance commitment rose 7% in August but personal lending dropped 2.6% in Australia. Australian dollar inched higher.

Australian markets indexes gained on the hopes that U.S. politicians are nearing an accord that at least will avert debt default this week.

However, details of the agreement are sketchy and tentative.

Any agreement is likely to cover no more than next three months and the current crisis is expected to resurface again in late December or early January.

Business finance commitments rose 7% to $34.4 million but personal lending commitments slipped 2.6% to $7.8 million, said Australian Bureau of Statistics today.

Australian dollar strengthened to 95.37 U.S. cents and in stock trading turnover slipped to 648 million shares worth $3.8 billion.

The ASX 200 index gained 51.20 to close at 5,259.10 and the broader All Ordinaries increased 52.70 to 5,259.20.

Stocks in Review

Rio Tinto jumped $1.55 to $63.20 after the global miner lifted its outlook for fiscal 2013 and expects copper, Iron ore, coal production to a record quarterly output. The company plans to invest nearly $5 billion in expansion of its Australian mines.

In the third quarter, Rio Tinto said it produced over 30,000 tons of copper in concentrates as China demand surged. Iron ore production jumped 53.4 million metric tons in the three months to September compared to 52.6 million tons a year earlier.

Copper in the quarter produced 23% higher than the year ago to 162,300 tons.

In a separate press release the miner today opened its $2 billion extension of the Kestrel Mine.

The company said this will add 20 years to Rio Tinto managed Kestrel Mine and lifted production of hard coking coal to around six million tons a year.

BHP gained 34 cents to $35.40. Woodside Petroleum Limited increased 46 cents to $38.50.

Westpac added 29 cents to $33.24.

Cochlear Limited slipped 1.9% to $58.76 after the hearing device maker expects net profit-after-tax for the fiscal 2014 will match earnings a year ago.

Tabcorp Holdings Limited closed unchanged at $3.25 after the leisure and entertainment service provider reported revenue in the first quarter grew 3.1% to $503.9 million from $488.9 million in the first quarter of last year.

The company added revenue from media and international business climbed 10.1% to $54.5 million and Keno revenue edged up 0.4% to $54.1 million.

WDS Limited surged 5.8% to 81.5 cents after the miner’s special services provider energy division secured contract worth above $50 million for delivery in the current financial year. The contracts are with Santos Limited and Vale.

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