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Market Update

Australian Markets Dive 1.4%, Qantas to Cut 1,000 Jobs

Author: Marcus Jacob
Last Update: 11:10 AM ET December 05 2013

4:30 PM Sydney Ė Australian indexes plunged 1.4% and the dollar weakened further. Australian trade deficit in October widened to $529 million. Qantas plans to cut 1,000 jobs and may sell a stake in Jetstar. Westfield gained full control of retail complex at New York World Trade Center.

Australian dollar and stocks were closed in market volatility as investors took a cautious view of the U.S. Federal Reserve tapering action.

Market averages dropped 1.4% and wiped-off nearly $20 billion as banks and resource sector stocks led the decliners.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics reported trade deficit in October widened to a seasonally adjusted $529 million from $271 million in September.

Exports dropped 1% to $27.3 billion but imports jumped 1% to $27.8 billion.

Australian dollar slipped to 90.37 U.S. cents. In stock trading, turnover soared to 1.1 billion shares worth $5.8 billion.

The ASX 200 index dropped 75.80 or 1.4% to close at 5,198 and the broader All Ordinaries slumped 70.60 to 5,196.90.

Stocks in Review

Rio Tinto dropped 36 cents to $65.49. BHP slumped 45 cents to $36.45. Woodside Petroleum Limited rose 2 cents to $37.02.

Westpac rose 5 cents to $32.35.

Crown Resorts Ltd slipped 1.3% to $16.43 after the casino operator won conditional government approval for a gaming room at its luxury hotel development in Sydney after the rival Echo Entertainment lost its gaming licence.

2XU, the Melbourne-based sports apparel brand said France-based conglomerate LVMH MoŽt Hennessy Louis Vuitton agreed to acquire 40% stake through its Singapore-based investment fund L Capital Asia.

Nufarm Limited plunged 7.6% to $4.40 after the crop protection products maker expects underlying earnings before interest and tax in the first-half to be in the range of $50 million to $60 million, matching the results a year ago period.

Qantas Airways Limited plunged 11.2% to $1.07 after the airline company forecasted underlying loss before tax in the six months ending in December between $250 million and $300 million.

The company plans to accelerate the cost reductions across all areas of the business totaling $2 billion in savings over three years that include 1,000 job cuts and a partial sales of businesses including Jetstar Australia.

Qantas said forecast for the second-half of fiscal 2014 remains weak and refused to provide an outlook for the period.

Veda Group Ltd surged 40% to $1.75 after the data intelligence company on its first-day of trading and completed the initial public offering of $341 million in its initial public offerings of 272.8 million shares at $1.25 per share.

In fiscal 2013, Vedaís operating earnings were $107 million.

The credit score data services providerís public offering was in favor of comprehensive credit reporting in Australia next March.

The financial services company has made at least seven purchases since taken private for $814 million in 2007 by Pacific Equity Partners and Merrill Lynch Global Private Equity Partners.

Westfield Group dropped 2.3% to $10.53 after the mall operator agreed to acquire the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey''s remaining 50% stake in World Trade Center retail complex in New York for $800 million.

Worleyparsons Limited dropped 2.3% to $16.12 after the professional service providerís Russian subsidiary secured contract worth $70 million from global natural gas extractor Gazprom to develop the Russian LNG production and export facility.

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