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Market Update

Australian Markets Extend Losses, Westfield to Split Businesses


Author: Marcus Jacob
ticker.com
Last Update: 7:44 AM ET April 14 2014

5:00 PM Sydney – Australian and Asian markets declined after a weakness in tech stocks in the region. Westfield takes steps to split its domestic and international businesses. QBE Insurance Group is looking for ways to restructure its U.S. underwriting business.

Australian stocks extended losses and tech stocks led the decliners and fell 2% followed by a weakness in healthcare and retail stocks.

Australian dollar closed at 93.88 U.S. cents and stock market trading turnover dropped to 625 million shares worth $3.82 billion.

The ASX 200 index slipped 69.70 or 1.3% to 5,358.90 and the broader All Ordinaries decreased 69.90 to 5,353.60.

Stocks in Review

Rio Tinto dropped 85 cents to $63.26. BHP fell 26 cent to $37.36. Woodside Petroleum Limited slipped 0.5% to $39.08.

Westpac Banking Corp slumped 51 cents to $34.15.

Westfield Group slipped 1.2% to $10.44 after two independent experts said that the proposed $70 million restructuring is “fair and reasonable” and is in the best interests of security-holders.

Westfield will separate its international division as Westfield Corporation and its Australian and New Zealand business will be merged with Westfield Retail Trust to form a new corporation named Scentre Group.

The two groups will be independent of each other.

Padbury Mining Limited stock was halted at 0.033 cents on Friday after the iron ore explorer secured approx $6.5 billion investment from unnamed Australian equity investors.

The deal will enable the company to construct a deep water port and rail network at Oakajee in Western Australia.

QBE Insurance Group Limited declined 3.7% to $11.98 after the insurance company confirmed that it is reviewing its U.S. underwriting business and look for ways to return its North American division to profit.

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