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Market Update

Australian Indexes in Weekly Advance of 2.8%

Author: Marcus Jacob
Last Update: 9:56 AM ET March 20 2015

5:30 PM Sydney Australian market indexes extended gains and the Aussie dollar traded firm near its six-year low after stocks in the energy and resource sectors rebounded. APN News and Media soared 5% after News Corp said it plans to increase its stake to 15%. Myer Holdings edged lower again.

Stocks in Sydney closed higher and extended weekly advance in indexes on a speculation that the RBA may be forced to lower rates sooner than expected.

Australian dollar closed at 76.84 U.S. cents and in stock trading turnover jumped to 1.3 billion shares worth $7.5 billion.

ASX 200 Index increased 24.70 or 0.4% to 5,975.50 and broader All Ordinaries Index gained 23.80 to 5,936.30. For the week, ASX 200 climbed 2.8%.

In commodities trading, gold closed unchanged at US$1,171 an ounce and light crude oil declined US$1.04 to US$45.61 a barrel.

Brent crude slid 0.05 cents to close at US$54.38 a barrel.

Australian Stock Movers

APN News and Media Limited climbed 5% to 99 cents after the radio, publishing and advertising company said News Corp plans to increase its stake in the company to 15% from the current 5% subject to a regulatory approval. The cost of additional 10% stake is expected around $104 million.

Karoon Gas Australia Limited plunged 18.2% to $2.16 after the exploration company said its Kangaroo West-1 exploration well off the coast of Brazil failed to find any hydrocarbons despite drilling to a depth of 3,170 meters.

Lend Lease Group rose 0.1% to $16.64 after the property and infrastructure developer signed a $2.8 billion agreement with Malaysian state-owned 1MDB to develop Lifestyle Quarter at Tun Razak Financial Exchange including malls and residential towers in Kuala Lumpur.

Woodside Petroleum Limited gained 1.1% to $35.70 after the oil and gas producer announced that it has successfully restarted production at its key Pluto LNG plant in north Western Australia.

The company now retained its full-year production target in the range of 84 million to 91 million barrels of oil equivalent.

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