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Market Update

Australian Index Extend Gains, Metcash Plunged 10%

Author: Marcus Jacob
Last Update: 9:39 AM ET March 21 2014

5:00 PM Sydney – Australian market indexes advanced in heavy trading and the Aussie dollar traded above 90 U.S. cents. Four largest Australian banks are leading the global capital raising plan of $7.2 billion to fund Roy Hill iron ore mining project. Metcash plunged 10%. Cochlear gained 3%.

Australian stocks opened higher and during the session advanced and at close added 0.8%. The market sentiment was positive after investors focused on domestic corporate news.

Australian dollar closed at 90.64 U.S. cents and stock market trading turnover slid to 1.13 billion shares worth $5.36 billion.

The ASX 200 index gained 44.10 or 0.8% to 5,338.10 and the broader All Ordinaries increased 41.30 to 5,354.

Stocks in Review

Rio Tinto rose 57 cents to $61.37. BHP gained 38 cents to $35.58. Woodside Petroleum Limited jumped 62 to $38.43.

Westpac Banking Corp increased 36 cents to $33.60 and Commonwealth Bank gained 0.9% to $75.66.

Australia’s four largest banks are leading the effort to finance $7.2 billion Roy Hill project development that is 70% controlled by Gina Reinhart’s company. The

Cochlear Limited climbed 4.2% to $58.96 after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the use of the implantable device for adults with severe hearing loss of high-frequency sounds.

Metcash Limited plunged 9.5% to $2.85 after the wholesale distributor lowered its profit outlook.

The wholesaler said its capital expenditure estimated to reach between $150 million and $180 million in 2015 and drop to between $130 million and $150 million in 2016 and 2017.

The company estimated earnings per share in the year ending April to fall between 13% and 15%.

Metcash also intends to invest approx $700 million up to 2018 in a transformation plan.

Westfield Group gained 0.7% to $10.29 after the mall developer and operation agreed to sell three of its U.K. shopping centers for more than $1.4 billion or £868 million.

The company the move is in accordance with the plan to separate its Australian and international shopping centres businesses into two trusts.

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