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Market Update

Australian Indexes Near 6-Year High

Author: Marcus Jacob
Last Update: 2:04 AM ET February 21 2014

5:00 PM Sydney Australian market indexes reached a six-year intra-day high in active trading worth $5 billion. Aussie dollar was the focus as banks estimate a sharp decline in the currency. Billabong reported a smaller loss. Crown Resorts said its Macau venture reported record results.

Australian market indexes closed higher and crossed a six-year high during trading.

Australian dollar closed flat for the week at 89.93 U.S. cents and in stock market trading turnover increased to 897 million shares worth $5.09 billion.

The Aussie dollar was in focus again after the Bank of New York joined other banks and estimated the currency to decline as China is expected to cut its import of iron ore.

Deutsche Bank has estimated the currency to fall as low as 60 U.S. cents and most economists are looking for the dollar to drop to 80 U.S. cents.

The ASX 200 index gained 26.40 or 0.5% to 5,438.70 and the broader All Ordinaries rose 28.10 to 5,449.40. For the week, ASX 200 increased 1.5%.

Stocks in Review

Rio Tinto rose 64 cents to $70.23. BHP jumped 47 cents to $39.17.

Woodside Petroleum Limited climbed 57 cents to $39.17 after the oil and gas producer is in talk with Royal Dutch Shell Plc to decide on its stake estimated at $7.3 billion.

In 2013, the European oil company revealed that it may sell stake of 23%.

Westpac gained 21 cents to $33.31.

Billabong International Limited rose 1.4% to 74 cents after the surf apparel retailer stated revenue in the first-half ending in December dropped 4.6% to $669.99 million from $702.32 million a year earlier.

Net loss in the period narrowed 76.5% to $126.29 million compared to $536.64 million a year ago period.

In the period, the retailer wrote down $132.6 million in asset and restructuring costs and also weak sales in Europe and U.S. played a role.

Crown Resorts Ltd declined 3.2% to $16.68 after the gaming and entertainment services provider said revenue in the first-half ending in December jumped 3.3% to $1.56 billion from $1.50 billion a year ago.

Net profit for the period surged 111.6% to $382.5 million compared to $180.8 million a year earlier.

The gaming company said revenue from main floor gaming segment slid 0.2% to $514.7 million and VIP gaming segment revenue plunged 33.1% to $219.3 million.

National Australia Bank Ltd slipped 1.7% to $34.54 after the financial service provider said revenue in first quarter ending in January rose 1%.

The bank added unaudited net profit for the quarter ending in December was about $1.4 billion and unaudited cash earnings rose to $1.55 billion on the back of mortgage growth and falling bad debts.

For the financial year to date, the group has raised $10.1 billion for term wholesale fund.

The lender said provisions for tailored business loans and compensation to U.K. customers for improper sale of payment-protection insurance are likely to increase.

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