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Market Update

Australian Dollar Firm, Westfiled Comparable Sales Rise 4%

Author: Marcus Jacob
Last Update: 10:10 AM ET May 15 2014

5:00 PM Sydney – Australian dollar traded firm near its recent high after investors digested latest federal budget. A pick up in trading in small caps lifted trading volume hear the high of the year so far. Auckland Airport plans for traffic boost from China this summer.

Late afternoon surge lifted market indexes above yesterday’s close after trading picked up in smaller companies.

Australian dollar dropped to 93.78 U.S. cents and stock market trading turnover surged to 717 million shares worth $4 billion.

The ASX 200 index gained 14.30 or 0.3% to 5,510.80 and the broader All Ordinaries rose 14.30 to 5,490.20.

Stocks in Review

Rio Tinto added 3 cents to $62.81. BHP slid 4 cents to $38.26. Woodside Petroleum Limited gained 0.9% to $42.10.

Westpac Banking Corp rose 28 cents to $34.48.

Auckland International Airport Limited declined 2.6% to $3.70 and the company said China Southern plans to increase weekly flights to 14. The new flights will provide additional 30,000 seats in the summer months and will also contribute $43 million to the New Zealand economy.

Graincorp Ltd gained 0.8% to $9 after the storage and logistics group reported revenue in the first-half tending in March declined 13.1% to $2.05 billion from $2.36 billion a year ago.

Profit in the period tumbled 43.3% to $50 million compared to $88.2 million and diluted earning share slumped to 21.9 cents from 38.6 cents a year earlier.

SP AusNet fell 0.7% to $1.36 after the energy infrastructure developer said revenue in the year ending in March climbed 9.7% to $1.80 billion from $1.64 billion a year ago.

Net income in the quarter tumbled 34.8% to $178.3 million compared to $273.5 million and diluted earnings per share dropped to 10 cents from 18 cents a year earlier.

The company said it may have to pay $86.7 million to settle the dispute with the Australian Taxation Office.

Westfield Group rose 0.3% to $10.93 after the retail mall operator said retail sales in the first-quarter ending in March were $20.3 billion and comparable specialty retail sales gained 4.4%.

Specialty retail sales in the U.S. jumped 3.1% to $585 million and New Zealand comparable specialty retail sales increased to 3.6%.

During the quarter, the company completed approximately 500 leasing deals and mall properties in Australia and New Zealand had 99.5% occupancy in the period.

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