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Market Update

Australian Markets Plunge 1.6% in Asia-wide Decline


Author: Marcus Jacob
ticker.com
Last Update: 9:40 AM ET March 26 2015

5:30 PM Sydney Australian markets plunged following weak closing in New York. Despite the jump in oil prices, resource companies and banks declined. Bank of Queensland said net profit in the first-half increased 14%.

Australian market indexes opened lower and fell sharply after markets closed lower in New York, oil price rose and on the rising tensions in the Middle East.

Banks and resource stocks led the decliners despite the rise in oil price. Market sentiment was weak after the tech heavy Nasdaq index led the sharp sell-off in New York and plunged 2.4%, the largest one day decline in a year.

U.S. markets closed lower after the durable goods orders fell in February largely because of the rising dollar curbed exports to the euro zone and other markets. The weak read on the durable orders prompted worries on the economic health.

Also, U.S. market indexes have surged in the last five years and valuations are stretched as companies struggle to adjust to the strong dollar.

Australian dollar closed at 78.09 U.S. cents and in stock trading turnover slid to 732 million shares worth $5.3 billion.

ASX 200 Index dropped 94.20 or 1.6% to 5,879.10 and broader All Ordinaries Index slumped 87.40 to 5,849.70.

In commodities trading, gold jumped US$9 to US$1,199 an ounce and Brent crude jumped US$2.19 cents to close at US$58.67 a barrel.

Australian Stock Movers

Amcor Limited dropped 2.4% to $14 after the packaging products supplier agreed to acquire South Africa-based Nampak Flexibles, the flexible packaging company for about $22 million.

Bank of Queensland Limited declined 3.3% to $13.89 after the banking and insurance services provider reported net interest income in the first-half ending in February climbed 9.6% to $1.14 billion from $1.04 billion in a year ago period.

Net profit in the period soared 14.1% to $154 million compared to $135 million and diluted earnings per share increased to 41.6 cents from 40.4 cents in the same period a year ago.

Brickworks Limited jumped 1.8% to $13.81 after the building products maker said revenues in the first-half ending in January climbed 7.4% to $349.6 million from $325.6 million in a year ago period.

Net profit in the period plunged 25% to $42.2 million compared to $56.3 million and diluted earnings per share declined to 28.5 cents from 38.1 cents in the same period a year ago.

Washington H. Soul Pattinson and Co. Ltd gained 1.1% to $14.80 after the coal and copper miner stated revenues in the first-half ending in January soared 5.8% to $355.1 million from $335.8 million in a year ago period.

Net income in the period declined 8.7% to $67.3 million compared to $73.7 million and diluted earnings per share slipped to 28.13 cents from 30.80 cents in the same period a year ago.

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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