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Market Update

Australian Rates on Hold, Retail Sales Struggle

Author: Marcus Jacob
Last Update: 12:13 PM ET September 03 2013

4:30 PM Sydney Australian stocks closed higher and the Reserve Bank of Australia left its benchmark rate at 2.5%. Retail spending increased 0.1% in July and current account deficit in June quarter widened to $9.35 billion.

Australian stocks closed higher in choppy trading and June quarter current account deficit widened as export prices for resources remained under pressure.

Australian dollar jumped to 90.35 U.S. cents and in stock trading turnover gained to 807 million shares worth $4 billion.

The ASX 200 index rose 8.30 to close at 5,196.60 and the broader All Ordinaries gained 10.90 to 5,188.90.

The Reserve Bank of Australia keeps official cash rate unchanged at record low at 2.5%.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics retail spending rose by 0.1% to $21.82 billion in July and current account deficit in the June quarter widened to $9.35 billion followed by deficit of $8.74 billion of March quarter.

Stocks in Review

Rio Tinto jumped $1.83 to $61.05 and lowered its Australian iron production guidance over the next five years.

BHP rose 20 cents to $35.82.

Woodside Petroleum Limited gained 28 cents to $38.82 after using its offshore development expertise with Shell FLNG technology for best of the Browse resources.

Westpac added 12 cents to $31.94.

Leighton Holdings Limited soared 4.9% to $18.45 after the subsidiary of engineering contractor John Holland secured contract worth $365 million to redevelop Tasmania''s Royal Hobart Hospital.

Qantas Airways Limited slid 0.7% to $1.38 after the domestic airliner said total passenger numbers in July increased 1.9% from a year ago month. Revenue-per-availabe-seat slightly declined 79.8% and including subsidiaries, group domestic yield was nearly flat but yields from international rout slipped.

The consumer watchdog also conditionally approve to continue its trans-Tasman alliance with Air NZ.

Ramelius Resources Limited surged 7.5% to 21.5 cents after the exploration company agreed acquire the Vivien gold project from Agnew Gold Miner, a subsidiary of Gold Fields Limited, in Western Australia for $10 million.

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