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Market Update

Australian Index Rebound, Nufarm Drops on Outlook

Author: Marcus Jacob
Last Update: 8:50 AM ET March 26 2014

5:00 PM Sydney – Australian market indexes advanced tracking the gains in international markets in overnight trading. Australian dollar dipped. Insurance Australia Group won a regulatory approval to acquire Wesfarmers’ insurance unit for $1.85 billion. Nufarm reported higher earnings.

Australian market indexes rebounded on the back of strength in market advances in Europe and in New York.

The market advance was driven by four large banks and resource companies and the Aussie dollar eased against international currencies.

Australian dollar slipped to 91.97 U.S. cents and stock market trading turnover rose to 809 million shares worth $5.18 billion.

The ASX 200 index increased 40.20 or 0.7% to 5,376.80 and the broader All Ordinaries gained 36.20 to 5,387.20.

Stocks in Review

Rio Tinto climbed $1.29 or 2.1% to $63.67. BHP gained 63 cents to $36.55. Woodside Petroleum Limited rose 4 cents to $38.40.

Westpac Banking Corp jumped 42 cents to $34.28.

Insurance Australia Group Limited increased 1.1% to $5.50 after the insurer received the competition regulator approval for $1.85 billion to acquire Wesfarmers'' insurance underwriting operations.

The transaction is expected to close by the middle of this year.

Nufarm Limited plunged 5.3% to $3.91 after the crop protection products maker reported revenue in the first-half ending in January climbed 21.8% to $1.14 billion from $934.4 million a year ago.

Net profit in the year surged 124.1% to $18.8 million compared to $8.39 million and diluted earnings per share jumped to 4.7 cents from 0.4 cents a year earlier.

The company said net debt at the year end in January increased to $1.02 billion compared to $743 million at the end of the earlier first-half period.

Sigma Pharmaceutical Limited climbed 3.3% to 63 cents after the company plans to acquire rival medical wholesaler and distributor Central Healthcare for $24.5 million.

Yancoal Australia Ltd declined 6.6% to 42.5 cents after the coal related projects developer secured a $300 million long term debt facility from its major shareholder Yanzhou based in China.

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