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Market Update

Australian Indexes Advance 0.6%, March Imports Fall 2%

Author: Marcus Jacob
Last Update: 8:09 PM ET April 17 2014

5:00 PM Sydney Australian market indexes struggled to advance but a last minute rally lifted indexes. Australian imports in March declined 2% form the revised February data. Santos estimated higher production in the current year.

Australian stocks opened higher but struggled to stay above flat line by mid-day. The indexes closed higher 0.6% after a rally in the final minutes of trading.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics said seasonally adjusted new motor vehicles sales in Australia fell 0.3% in March from February.

Australian dollar closed at 93.65 U.S. cents and stock market trading turnover increased to 671 million shares worth $3.78 billion.

The ASX 200 index gained 33.90 or 0.6% to 5,454.20 and the broader All Ordinaries gained 32.20 to 5,444.80.

Australian government today appointed bankers to lead the sale of public offering of Medibank Private. The government appointed Deutsche Bank AG, Goldman Sachs Australia and Macquarie Capital to lead the joint underwriting.

March imports declined 2% to $19.75 billion from a revised $20.15 billion in February, Australian Bureau of Statistics said in a release today.

In seasonally adjusted terms, imports increased $16 million from February in March to $22.4 billion.

Stocks in Review

Rio Tinto closed unchanged at $63.37. BHP rose 16 cent to $38.10. Woodside Petroleum Limited gained 1% to $40.

Westpac Banking Corp jumped 35 cents to $34.94.

Dick Smith Holdings Ltd gained 1.8% to $2.24 after the retailer said group sales in the third-quarter ending in March were $280.1 million and lifted its third quarter earnings by 1% but reported net loss in the first half of $4.9 million.

NRW Holdings Limited jumped 2.7% to $1.15 after the civil and mining contractor secured a contract worth $200 million by Samsung C&T Corp for the construction of the Package One Works at Roy Hill.

Santos Limited slid 0.1% to $13.42 and the oil and gas producer confirmed its annual output guidance and reported production increased 1% to 12.2 million barrels of oil equivalent and sales rose 6%.

For the year, Santos estimated production between 52 million and 57 million barrels of oil equivalent.

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