6:30 PM Sydney – Australian markets traded higher tracking higher metal prices. BHP Billiton reaffirmed its annual production outlook but missed quarterly expectations for its iron ore and crude oil production. Harvey Norman said sales increased 0.6%.
Financial markets rallied and indexes advanced more than 1% after gold stage a rebound and speculators took advantage of lower price.
Gold rebounded 2.5% in New York trading but most of the demand was driven by the financial investors. Gold consumers in India, Middle East and China are still staying away from the increase in purchase of the yellow metal.
The ASX 200 index climbed 53.80 or 1.1% to 5,004.60 and the broader All Ordinaries jumped 49.50 to 4,993.60.
Australian dollar closed down $1.035 and in stock trading, turnover increased to 888 million shares worth $4.5 billion.
The Westpac-Melbourne Institute Leading Index rose to 4.2% in February indicating reviving economic activities and higher asset prices.
BHP Reaffirms Annual Outlook
BHP Billiton reaffirmed its production outlook for the rest of the year despite the company missing iron ore and petroleum production outlook in the quarter to March.
BHP said today, it shipped 37.7 million tons of iron ore from its Pilbara mines in the quarter, an increase of 6.7% less than expected by several analysts. The company suffered mine closures because of inclement weather.
Total crude oil production declined 2% to 55.4 million barrels on the account of cyclones on west coast of Australia and maintenance and drilling delays at wells in the Gulf of Mexico.
BHP retained its fiscal year to June iron ore production outlook at 183 million tons and petroleum production at 240 million barrels.
Iron ore generates 50% of the company’s operating earnings and petroleum products contribute additional third.
Copper production rose 9% in the quarter and production at its Chilean operation is expected to lift production by 20%.
Rio Tinto slipped 39 cents to $54.59 and BHP slid 9 cents to $32.06. Fortescue Metals Group fell 3 cents to $3.72.
For the year BHP stock has declined 13% and Rio Tinto has fallen 16.6%.
Woodside Petroleum lowered 30 cents to $35.08 and Santos down 6 cents to $12.07.
Newcrest Mining rose 10 cents to $17.10, Kingsgate fell 9 cents to $2.71 and Whitehaven Coal slid 2 cents to $2.
James Hardie Industries declined 1.9% after the New Zealand Ministry of Education sought legal damages from two company subsidiaries in the nation related to several thousand school buildings.
Incitec Pivot Limited said it will build a new ammonia plant in the U.S. at a cost of $822 million.
David Jones Limited added 1 cent to $2.90 and Breville Group gained 12 cents to $6.72. Billabong rose 0.5 cents to 50 cents.
Woolworths climbed 84 cents to $35.60. Kathmandu added 4 cents to $2.03.
Harvey Norman gained 3.8% to $2.75 after the furniture retailer said third quarter sales increased 0.6% to $1.28 billion.
Toll Holdings up 8 cents to $5.62, Leighton rose 19 cents to $19.44 and Mirvac Group gained 2 cents to $1.75. Lend Lease increased 7 cents to $10.52.