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Market Update

Australian Indexes Up 0.5%, Oil Search Sales Fall 19%

Author: Marcus Jacob
Last Update: 9:56 AM ET April 22 2014

5:00 PM Sydney Australian stocks closed higher in thin trading. Oil Search advanced after issuing a positive outlook but quarterly sales declined 19%. Singapore competition authority approved the alliance between Air New Zealand and Singapore Airlines.

Australian stocks gained after a 3-day weekend but trading volume was weak and Australian dollar traded at an elevate level.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics said seasonally adjusted new motor vehicles sales in Australia fell 0.3% in March from February.

Australian dollar closed at 93.65 U.S. cents and stock market trading turnover dropped to 515 million shares worth $3.34 billion.

The ASX 200 index gained 25.10 or 0.5% to 5,479.30 and the broader All Ordinaries rose 22.30 to 5,467.10.

Stocks in Review

Rio Tinto slipped 63 cents to $62.74 after the mining company awarded its civil and mining contract to Brierty Limited for $9.9 million.

BHP slid 9 cent to $38.01. Woodside Petroleum Limited climbed 2.2% to $40.88.

Westpac Banking Corp gained 35 cents to $35.29.

Oil Search Limited rose 0.2% to $8.66 after the Australia-based oil and gas explorer reported total sales in the first-quarter ending in March declined 19% to $170.2 million from $210 million in the last quarter and fell 3.3% to $176 million in the same quarter a year ago.

The oil and gas explorer said net debt in the quarter increased to $3.70 billion from $2.61 billion a year earlier.

As on quarter ending in March, Oil Search held cash of $411.2 million compared to $209.7 million a year ago.

The company added its Papua New Guinea liquefied natural gas project is ahead of schedule.

Norton Gold Fields Limited closed unchanged at 11 cents after the gold producer launched $24.1 million takeover offer to Perth-based Bullabulling Gold Limited to expand its operations in Western Australia.

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