6:30 PM Sydney – Australian markets closed flat but the ASX index crossed 5,000 mark and the dollar continued its slide. The latest private survey of businesses indicated improving but soft conditions. The equipment maker Bradken reported higher than expected earnings.
Stocks traded higher on the earnings optimism and the latest business confidence indicator suggested a slight improvement.
Business conditions improved to minus 2 in January from minus 5 in December according to a latest survey published by National Australian Bank.
The slight improvement was welcomed by most economists but the overall conditions remain soft.
The ASX 200 index inched lowered 0.50 to 4,959 and the broader All Ordinaries gained 1.21 to 4,981.53.
The Australian dollar declined to $1.025 and continued its slide for the fourth week in a row and dropped to a low since October.
In stock trading, turnover declined to 1.4 billion shares worth $3.3 billion and 498 shares increased, 495 decreased and 364 were unchanged.
Bradken increase 67 cents or 11% to $6.77 after the equipment maker said first half profit increased 9% to $46.7 million.
Whitehaven Coal surged 23 cents or 7.8% to $3.19 after it won an approval for its Maules Creek mining project in NSW.
Newcrest Mining dropped 48 cents to $23.67 after the spot price of gold decreased $24.91 to 1,668.21 an ounce.
Oil Search Limited closed unchanged at $7.50 and Santos Limited fell 8 cents to $12.15. Beach Energy up 1 cent to $1.40. AGL Energy increased 20 cents to $15.45.
Woodside Petroleum lowered 20 cents to $35.71 and Origin Energy Limited slid 18 cents to $12.15.
Rio Tinto slipped 42 cents to $69.03 and BHP decreased 12 cents to $37.59. Lend Lease added 1 cent to $10.31.
JB Hi-Fi added 11 cents to $13.
Woolworths jumped 34 cents to $33.02. Kathmandu added 1 cent to $1.81. Wesfarmers closed unchanged at $38.60.
David Jones Limited slid 1 cent to $2.69 and. Breville Group closed unchanged at $6.91.
Billabong up 0.5 cents to 97 cents and Globe International closed unchanged at 45 cents.
Commonwealth Bank of Australia gained 40 cents to $65.52 and Bank of Queensland up 2 cents to $8.73 and ANZ slipped 21 cents to $27.56. National Australia Bank slid 16 cents to $28.93. Westpac decreased 21 cents to $27.75.
Macquarie Group fell 2 cents to $37.98 and Toll Holdings increased 8 cents to $5.38, Leighton rose 43 cents to $20.81 and property developer Mirvac Group closed unchanged at $1.58.