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Market Update

Australian Home Loans Rises 0.3%, Banks Lead Indexes Lower on Greek Turmoil

Author: Marcus Jacob
Last Update: 9:10 AM ET December 10 2014

5:30 PM Sydney Australian market indexes opened lower on a weakness in banks and resource sector after Greek political turmoil lowered market indexes in Europe. Seasonally adjusted new home loans in Australia increased 0.3% to nearly 52,000 in October.

Stocks in Sydney opened lower after another day of weak oil and gold prices in international markets and the political turmoil in Greece dragged European markets by more than 1%.

In addition, prices of base and precious metals and iron ore took another hit after China signalled lower economic growth and slower urban expansion.

In domestic economic news according to a private survey, The Westpac-Melbourne Institute''s consumer sentiment index declined 5.7% in December to a 40-month low of 91.1 from 1.9% increase in November to 96.6.

Westpac revised its interest rate forecast and estimated rate setting committee at Reserve Bank at the next meeting on February 3 to cut rate by 0.25% and additional cut by the same amount in March.

Separately, Australian Bureau of Statistics said seasonally adjusted number of new home loans granted in October increased 0.3% to 51,720 from the previous month.

Australian dollar closed at 83.14 U.S. cents and in stock-trading turnover slumped to 785 million shares worth $5.02 billion.

ASX 200 Index slipped 23.70 or 0.4% to 5,259 and broader All Ordinaries Index fell 21.20 to 5,237.10.

In commodities trading, gold climbed US$31 to US$1,232 an ounce and light crude oil gained 77 cents to US$63.82 a barrel.

Australian Stock Movers

APA Group closed unchanged at $7.97 after the natural gas infrastructure developer agreed to acquire 543 kilometer pipeline links in Queensland from the U.K.-based BG Group Plc for about $5 billion or 3.2 billion to expand its east cost pipeline network.

The transaction is expected to close in the first-half of 2015.

Charter Hall Retail REIT gained 0.7% to $4.11 after the real estate developer agreed to acquire former Brickworks site in Adelaide for $7.55 million from Woolworths Limited.

Fortescue Metals Group Limited rose 0.4% to $2.56 after the iron ore explorer and producer plans to sell some of its assets amid declining of iron ore prices. But the world''s fourth-biggest iron ore miner said that the company is not in hurry to sell assets.

Woodside Petroleum Limited increased 1.5% to $34.90 after the crude prices rebounded from a five-year low after Conoco Phillips, Chevron and several other smaller U.S. companies announced a cut in exploration investment in 2015.

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