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Market Update

Australian Indexes Drop 0.9%, New Lending Contracts Ease 0.7%

Author: Marcus Jacob
Last Update: 10:15 AM ET April 11 2014

5:00 PM Sydney – Australian indexes dropped 0.9% but closed up 0.1% in the week on improving economic news and rising commodities prices. Total new lending contracts in February declined 0.7%. Home loans commitment increased 1.9%. Australian dollar advanced.

Stocks lost steam after investors sold high flying stocks following the weakness in tech stocks in New York trading.

For the week, the index eked out a gain of 0.1% but declined 0.9% today despite the recent firming of commodities prices, improving economic conditions and an unsolicited takeover offer for the retailer David Jones.

China’s inflation picked up steam last month as prices of food gained.

The National Bureau of Statistics reported annual rate of consumer price inflation in March printed at 2.4% while producer prices came at 2.3% from a year ago month.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics reported total new lending commitments in February slid 0.7% and commercial finance dropped 2.5%, while housing finance increased 1.9%.

Also, mining and resource stocks declined after China reported 6.6% decline in exports and 11.3% fall in imports in March.

Australian dollar closed at 93.74 U.S. cents and stock market trading turnover declined to 680 million shares worth $4.07 billion.

The ASX 200 index dropped 52.20 or 0.9% to 5,428.60 and the broader All Ordinaries slumped 54 to 5,423.50.

For the week, ASX 200 index rose 0.1%.

Stocks in Review

Rio Tinto slipped 84 cents to $64.11. BHP slid 29 cent to $37.62. Woodside Petroleum Limited rose 0.1% to $39.29.

Westpac Banking Corp fell 20 cents to $34.66.

Bank of Queensland Limited closed unchanged at $12.62 after the retail bank reported revenue in the first-half ending in February jumped 8% to $447.1 million from a year ago period.

Net profit in the period surged 34% to $134.7 million from $100.5 million a year earlier.

Separately, the bank said it would buy Investec Bank (Australia) Ltd''s business finance and asset leasing unit for $440 million.

Coca-Cola Amatil Ltd tumbled 14.6% to $9.74 after the Australian-based beverage bottler said its first-half earnings is likely to fall 15% due to weak spending in its Australian operations and increasing costs in Indonesia.

Watpac Limited slipped 1% to 93 cents after the building construction company won $114 million contract to build the new South-point commercial tower in South Bank, Brisbane.

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