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Market Update

Australian Indexes Advance Before Holidays

Author: Marcus Jacob
Last Update: 1:09 PM ET December 24 2014

5:30 PM Sydney – Australian stocks gained following the advance in international markets and ahead of long holiday weekend. Crude oil and gold prices edged up in thin trading but resource stocks faced headwinds.

Stocks in Sydney closed higher following better-than-expected economic growth in the third quarter in the U.S.

Stronger consumption on the sharp decline in oil price drive the U.S. economic growth to 5%, according to the third and final estimate released by the government.

Australian dollar closed at 81.08 U.S. cents and in stock-trading turnover declined to 280 million shares worth $1.9 billion.

ASX 200 Index rose 13.60 or 0.2% to 5,394.50 and broader All Ordinaries Index fell 57.70 or 1.1% to 5,356.40.

For the week, ASX 200 climbed 3.3%.

In commodities trading, gold dropped $2 to US$1,178 an ounce and light crude oil jumped $1.86 to US$57.12 a barrel. Brent Crude declined 47 cents to close at US$60.11 a barrel.

Australian Stock Movers

Atlas Iron Limited closed unchanged at 14 cents after the iron ore miner and seller expects to report non-cash impairment between of $700 million and $900 million.

The miner said actual impairment is yet to be audited after the prices of iron ore, foreign exchange rates and market conditions required to assess for the six-month period ending on December 31.

Separately, the miner agreed to acquire Mt Webber mine Altura Mining Limited for about $22 million.

Abacus Property Group slid 0.3% to $3 after the commercial, retail and industrial property developer agreed to acquire a boutique office, including commercial office and retail space in Melbourne worth about $76.2 million.

Virtus Health Ltd jumped 2.9% to $7.81 after the medical diagnostic service provider‘s subsidiary Sims Clinic agreed to acquire an Ireland-based rival HARI clinic for about $9 million or €6 million.

The transaction is expected to close on December 31.

On December 19, the company opened first Virtus branded fertility centre in Singapore with a cost of $3.5 million.

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