5:30 PM Sydney – Australian markets edged up following a rebound in metals and oil prices extended gains for the third week in a row. Total motor vehicles sales in January declined 1.5% to 93,104. QBE Insurance divested three agency businesses. Aurizon, the freight rail operator reported flat first-half sales.
Australian market indexes gained following a rise in oil and metals prices in cautious trading after Japan crawled out of recession in the fourth quarter and trade deficit in India dropped to an 11-month low.
Investors were cautious after leaders in the euro zone struggled to find a common ground for the release of last tranche of the bailout.
Seasonally adjusted new motor vehicle sales in January dropped 1.5% to 93,104 vehicles from the increases of 3% in December, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said today.
For the year, sales increased 0.2% after falling 1% in a month ago. Passenger vehicles sales fell 0.6% and sports utility vehicles sales declined 1.6%.
Australian dollar closed at 77.91 U.S. cents and in stock trading turnover declined to 749 million shares worth $4.14 billion.
ASX 200 Index rose 11.20 or 0.2% to 5,888.70 and broader All Ordinaries Index jumped 14 to 5,849.50.
In commodities trading, gold gained US$5 to US$1,233 an ounce and light crude oil increased $1.51 to US$53.67 a barrel.
Brent crude edged up US$0.01 to close at US$61.53 a barrel.
Australian Stock Movers
Aurizon Holdings Limited
dropped 2.4% to $4.88 after the rail freight operator said revenues in the first-half ending in December was flat at $1.96 billion from a year ago period.
Net profit in the period surged 187.8% to $308 million compared to $107 million and diluted earnings per share climbed to 14.4 cents from 5 cents in the same period a year ago.
Bendigo and Adelaide Bank Limited
declined 4.4% to $13.74 after the regional bank reported net interest income in the first-half ending in December jumped 2.7% to $1.52 billion from $1.45 billion a year ago period.
Net profit in the period surged 25.8% to $227.3 million compared to $180.7 million and diluted earnings per share jumped to 47 cents from 40.8 cents in the same period a year ago.
surged 7.1% to 68 cents after the freelancing and outsourcing company stated revenues in the year ending in December soared 39% to $26.1 million from $18.8 million from a year ago period.
Net in the period swung to a loss of $1.85 million compared to profit of $0.75 million and diluted loss per share swung to 0.42 cents from earnings per share of 0.19 cents in the same period a year ago.
QBE Insurance Group Ltd
climbed 3.4% to $11.98 after the insurance company agreed to divest three agency businesses to broker Steadfast Group Ltd for $290 million.