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Market Update

Australian Indexes Drop 1.4%, Earnings Focus on CSR and Leighton

Author: Marcus Jacob
Last Update: 10:11 AM ET November 13 2013

4:30 PM Sydney – Australian market indexes dropped 1.4% and resource stocks led the decliners. The Aussie dollar eased to an eight-week low as the strong U.S. dollar weighed on most international currencies. CSR net profit doubled. Leighton Holdings net soared 40%.

Australian market indexes declined following an Asia-wide sell-off as investors speculated the U.S. monetary stimulus tapering timetable.

Australian dollar slumped to 93.04 U.S. cents. In stock trading, turnover climbed to 846 million shares worth $4.6 billion.

The ASX 200 index declined 73.90 or 1.4% to close at 5,319.20 and the broader All Ordinaries dropped 57.90 to 5,328.90.

Stocks in Review

Rio Tinto slid 7 cents to $64.63.

BHP dropped 40 cents to $37.63 after the company suspended mining operation at its Nickel West Leinster perseverance underground operation on the account of a seismic event.

The company added all employees were successfully evacuated without any harm.

Woodside Petroleum Limited decreased 34 cents to $38.89.

Westpac declined 58 cents to $32.27 and the company said in its annual report that it has retained its bonus targets for senior executives. Chief Executive Gail Kelly’s total remuneration, including salary, pension and incentives, will add up to $9.2 million.

CSR Limited surged 8.3% to $2.61 after the building products supplier said revenue in the first-half ending in September rose 2% to $877.1 million. Net profit doubled to $46.1 million and earnings per share increased to 7.2 cents.

CSR lifted its estimates for total housing starts in Australia for the full-year ending March 2014 to around 155,000 starts, a 5% increase from previously forecast.

DuluxGroup Limited slipped 1.7% to $5.13 after the paints and coatings maker reported revenue in the year ending in September climbed 39% to $1.42 billion. Net profit for the year declined 14% to $76.9 million compared to $89.5 million a year earlier.

The profit included $15.1 million in costs related to the Alesco acquisition as well as $10.2 million impairment against its joint venture with DGL Camel in China.

Fortescue Metals Group Limited jumped 2.8% to $5.77 after the iron ore producer issued a $1 billion voluntary redemption notice to repayment of $2.04 billion in bonds to cut the debt and lower the interest payments.

Repayment of $1 billion unsecured notes which have a coupon of 7% save interest of $70 million per year.

Leighton Holdings Limited slumped 3.2% to $17.05 after the civil and engineering construction company reported revenue in the third-quarter jumped 6% to $17.9 billion from $16.9 billion a year ago. Net profit in the quarter surged 40% to $444 million compared to $317 million a year earlier.

The company added underlying profit increased 65% to $389 million.

Leighton expects underlying profit for the year in a range between $520 million and $600 million.

Murray Goulburn Cooperative Co., Australia-based dairy products maker raised its takeover offer for Warrnambool Cheese & Butter Factory to $505 million, topping the two rival bids.

Warrnambool Cheese & Butter Factory Co climbed 6.6% to $9.10.

Webjet Limited declined 5.2% to $2.71 after the largest online travel retailer estimated earnings for the year before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization will be flat at $21.5 million compared to $21.6 million a year ago.

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