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Market Update

Australian Mining Conditions Weaken, Masters Chain Suffers Higher Loss

Author: Marcus Jacob
Last Update: 9:18 AM ET July 18 2013

5:00 PM Sydney – Australian stocks failed to build on the early enthusiasm in the session and pulled back from the peak of the day. Australian business conditions and confidence index declined in the June quarter. Newcrest Mining declined 4.5%.

Australian stocks and indexes opened higher but pulled lower in the final hour of trading as the dollar trended lower and on the active trading in commodities and resource stocks.

The ASX 200 index rose 11.70 to close at 4,993.40 and the broader All Ordinaries added 10.4 to 4,976.90.

Australian dollar traded lower at 91.75 U.S. cents and in stock trading turnover slipped to 741 million shares worth $4 billion.

According to a private survey, Australian business conditions and confidence fell in the second quarter. The survey conducted by National Australian Bank estimated business conditions index declined to -4 in the June quarter from -3 in the previous quarter ending in March.

The business confidence index dropped to -1 from +2 in the previous quarter, the survey added.

Stocks in Review

Santos Limited gained and Octanex surged 90% to 40 cents after the two discovered oil at a well in Western Australia. Santos, with operating permit and controls 75% of the well and Octanex has the remaining 25% interest in the well.

Rio Tinto jumped 55 cents to $56.70 and BHP rose 3 cents to $34.22.

Woodside Petroleum Limited rose 1 cent to $37.46 after the oil and gas explorer expects to book an impairment charge of between US$120 million and US$140 million for the first-half but reconfirmed its revised full-year production guidance.

David Jones Limited fell 3 cents to $2.44 and Breville Group gained 14 cents to $7.58.

Woolworths dropped 37 cents to $33.32 after the supermarkets operator said its hardware chain Masters is expected to lose $157 million in the year to June.

The hardware division that includes trade segment Danks, lost $139 million before interest and taxes compared to an estimate of $81 million.

Mirvac Group rose 4 cents to $1.65. Lend Lease fell 3 cents to $8.96.

Westpac jumped 28 cents to $29.68 and Commonwealth added 0.7% to $71.74. National Australia Bank climbed 1% to $30.34 and ANZ up 15 cents to $28.95.

Austal Limited soared 5.5% to 87 cents after the aluminium vessels maker lifted its full-year earnings guidance and net profit after-tax between $35 million and $40 million from earlier range of $23 million to $26 million and full-year EBITDA in the range of $65 million to $71 million.

Aurizon Holdings Limited climbed 3.6% to $4.55 after the largest listed rail freight operator in Australia said the company is on track to exceed its cost cutting target of $230 million.

Newcrest Mining, Ltd. declined 4.5% to $10.95 after the gold and copper producer reaffirmed its full-year production guidance for gold and copper.

The miner expects production of gold between of 2 million ounces and 2.15 million ounces and copper production for the year to be between 75 kilo-tons and 85 kilo-tons.

Pharmaxis Limited plunged 8.1% to 17 cents after the pharmaceutical company received approval for simplified access to Bronchitol® for the treatment of cystic fibrosis under the Australian government''s Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

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