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Market Update

Australian Markets Gain 0.6%; Cochlear Plunges 9%, Forge Halted

Author: Marcus Jacob
Last Update: 8:57 AM ET February 11 2014

4:30 PM Sydney Australian market indexes gained 0.6% and the exchange grappled with glitches and trading was halted for thirty minutes. Cochlear Limited plunged 9% on earnings outlook. Forge Group faces bankruptcy. ANZ guided revenues in 2014 to increase between 4% and 5%.

Australian market indexes closed higher and the exchange was forced to halt trading for thirty minutes to solve computer glitches as companies began reporting earnings.

Australian dollar gained to 90.03 U.S. cents and in stock market trading turnover slid to 608 million shares worth $3.9 billion.

The ASX 200 index gained 32.40 or 0.6% to 5,254.50 and the broader All Ordinaries rose 30.80 to 5,267.30.

Stocks in Review

Forge Group Limited was placed on trading halt and last traded at 92 cents after ANZ withdrew its credit line for the mining service company. The bank had extended the facility to the company on the condition that it raises additional equity.

Rio Tinto fell 38 cents to $66.64. BHP rose 5 cents to $36.55. Woodside Petroleum Limited added 1 cent to $37.74.

Westpac jumped 46 cents to $32.23.

Australia and New Zealand Banking Group climbed 2.2% to $30.56 after the bank reported net December quarter profit climbed 21% to $1.64 billion from a year ago. Customer deposit increased 4% and net loans and advances gained 3% from the previous quarter.

The company guided annual revenues to increase between 4% and 5% in 2014 based on constant currency rate, and in-line with expectations.

The bank plans to issue capital notes to raise about $1 billion and keep reserve $191 million for bad debts compared with $311 million a year earlier.

Macquarie Group Limited fell 3.8% and the company reaffirmed its earlier outlook of $1.2 billion in fiscal 2014.

APN News and Media Limited surged 10.3% to 43 cents after the media company sold online retail business brandsExclusive to Aussie Commerce Group for $2 million plus 8% equity shares.

Cochlear Limited plunged 8.8% to $53.68 after the hearing device maker reported total revenue in the first-half ending in December dropped 5% to $371.1 million from $391.7 million a year ago.

Net profit in the period tumbled 73% to $21 million compared to $77.7 million.

The company blamed delays in regulatory approvals for new products and that also hurt sales of its current products as customers awaited new product releases.

Leighton Holdings Limited fell 0.2% to $16.30 after the construction company agreed to acquire remaining stake of 39.9% in India based joint-venture Leighton Welspun for $99 million.

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