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Market Update

Australian Index at a 7-Year High Ahead of Rate Decision

Author: Marcus Jacob
Last Update: 9:10 AM ET March 02 2015

5:30 PM Sydney Australian market index traded at a 7-year high ahead of rate decision tomorrow. Over the weekend, China lowered its reference rate and India proposed to increase infrastructure spending in next fiscal year. Myer Holdings forced out chief executive and finance officers.

Australian market indexes traded higher after China lowered its benchmark interest rate over the weekend and the central government in India proposed to increase infrastructure development.

Domestically, new home sales increased 1.8% in January on the back of stronger than expected multi-unit or apartment sales, the Housing Industry Association said today.

On the economic front, seasonally adjusted estimate for company gross operating profits fell 0.2% from the third- quarter and seasonally adjusted estimate for wages and salaries rose 0.3%, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said.

In February, seasonally adjusted purchasing manager''s index declined 3.6% to score 45.4 from score of 49 in January, the third monthly decrease, the Australian Industry Group reported today.

The department added manufacturing production dropped 3.7% to 45, fourth monthly decline and new orders slumped 3.4% to 44.2, declined for a third month.

Australian dollar closed at 77.68 U.S. cents and in stock trading turnover slipped to 778 million shares worth $5.4 billion.

ASX 200 Index gained 30.10 or 0.5% to 5,958.90 and broader All Ordinaries Index rose 27.80 to 5,926.30.

In commodities trading, gold jumped US$12 to US$1,221 an ounce and light crude oil climbed $1.59 to US$49.76 a barrel.

Brent crude slipped 44 cents to close at US$62.14 a barrel.

Australian Stock Movers

Aurizon Holdings Ltd slipped 0.8% to $4.69 after the freight rail network operator estimated cost of Marcia Cyclone in north Queensland in late February on earnings before tax and interest between $24 million and $28 million.

Freedom Foods Group Ltd declined 8% to $3.10 after the food maker reported net sales in the first-half ending in December climbed 55.6% to $93.23 million from $59.90 million in a year ago period.

Net profit in the period surged eighteen-fold to $55.19 million compared to $3.50 million and diluted earnings per share jumped to 36.35 cents from 2.78 cents in the same period a year ago.

Orica Limited climbed 3.4% to $20.50 after the blasting product and service provider said it will buy back more than $400 million of shares following the sale of its chemicals business to Blackstone for $750 million.

Vocation Ltd plunged 5.6% to 0.085 cents after the corporate education and training service provider said revenues in the first-half ending in December climbed 9.3% to $57.7 million from $52.8 million a year ago period.

Net loss in the period widened to $272.6 million compared to $1 million and diluted loss per share surged to 124.2 cents from 1 cent in the same period a year ago.

The company booked $241 million of impairment linked Victorian businesses.

Warrnambool Cheese & Butter Factory Co gained 1.2% to $8.30 after the dairy product maker agreed to acquire cheese business of Victoria-based Lion-Dairy & Drinks Pty Ltd for about $137.5 million on a debt-free basis.

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