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Market Update

Australian Indexes Drop 2.3%; AMP, IAG, Qantas Net Rise

Author: Marcus Jacob
Last Update: 9:57 AM ET February 21 2013

6:30 PM Sydney Australian market rally came to an abrupt halt as regional markets dropped. The benchmark index dropped 2.3%, largest one day decline in nine months. IAG said its profit more than tripled and increased insurance premium. Origin Energy net tumbled on margin compression.

Investors took profit and stock market rally came to an abrupt end with the largest one day loss in nine months.

Resource, energy and financial sector stocks led the decline as investors took a view that market has extended beyond fundamentals.

The ASX 200 index plummeted 118.60 or 2.3% to 4,980.10 and the broader All Ordinaries declined 115.84 or 2.3% to 4,998.56.

The Australian dollar declined to $1.033.

Stock Movers

AMP increased 0.9% to $5.49 after it reported 2012 net profit increased 2.3% to $704 million. The company issued final dividend of 12.5 cents a share.

IAG increased 2.8% to $5.57 after the insurer reported earnings tripled to $461 million citing fewer claims from natural disaster in the period compared to previous year.

The company said premium for home and car insurance are set to increase between 5% and 10% in the next 12 to 18 months.

Origin Energy dropped 8% to $11.33 after the energy explorer reported first half profit declined to $524 million from $794 million.

The company blamed the decline in profit on tariff freeze in Queensland which cascaded to an intense price competition in other markets.

Origin also confirmed that its gas export project cost is expected to increase 7% to $24.7 billion after a detailed review.

Rio Tinto dropped $2.09 to $67.30 and BHP declined $1.48 to $37.17. Lend Lease slipped 15 cents to $10.43. Fortescue Metals Group decreased 12 cents to $4.80.

Woodside Petroleum slumped $1.12 to $37.95 and Origin Energy Limited plunged $1.05 or 8.5% to $11.33.

Qantas increased 3% to $1.66 after the airline reported net income more than doubled to $111 million.

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