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Market Update

Australian Markets Inch Higher, Fortescue Q3 Production Surges

Author: Marcus Jacob
Last Update: 11:46 AM ET October 17 2013

4:30 PM Sydney Australian indexes closed higher but the Aussie dollar edged lower. USG Corporation agreed to pay $575 million to form a joint venture with Boral Limited. Fortescue Metals third-quarter production surged and iron ore miner reaffirmed its decline in full-year shipment outlook.

Australian stocks closed higher and the dollar declined after U.S. averted a debt default with a last minute agreement to reopen government and revise debt ceiling till the middle of February.

Business finance commitments rose 7% to $34.4 million but personal lending commitments slipped 2.6% to $7.8 million, said Australian Bureau of Statistics today.

Australian dollar weakened to 94.42 U.S. cents. In stock trading, turnover climbed to 883 million shares worth $4.5 billion.

The ASX 200 index increased 20.20 or 0.4 to close at 5,283.10 and the broader All Ordinaries gained 17.50 to 5,281.90.

Stocks in Review

Rio Tinto slipped 40 cents to $63.71 and BHP added 2 cents to $35.80.

Woodside Petroleum Limited dropped 52 cents to $38 and reported revenue in the third-quarter ending in September declined 26.8% to $1.34 billion from $1.83 billion a year ago. This followed 17% drop in production to 21.9 million barrels of oil equivalent.

Westpac fell 3 cents to $33.21.

Boral Limited climbed 5.9% to $5.03 after the construction materials supplier and its U.S. based USG Corporation agreed for a 50/50 joint venture. USG will pay $575 million to Boral in cash, total of joint venture valued $1.6 billion with operations in 12 countries.

The deal is expected to complete in January 2014.

Fortescue Metals Group Limited dropped 2.9% to $5.24 after the iron ore producer reaffirmed its full-year production guidance and expects full-year shipments to decrease to 127 million tons and 133 million ton a year ago.

Fortescue added shipment in the third quarter ending in September surged 61% to 25.9 million metric tons from 15.4 million tons a year earlier.

Ten Network Holdings Limited slipped 1.7% to 28.5 cents after the television and media company reported annual revenues of $630.1 million and net loss of $285 million.

The network announced a new four-year debt facility of $200 million, guaranteed by shareholders.

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