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Market Update

Australian Stocks Advance, Stockland Acquired Stake in Australand

Author: Marcus Jacob
Last Update: 12:44 PM ET March 19 2014

5:00 PM Sydney Australian stocks meandered in active trading and the market indexes closed higher. Australian dollar gained. Stockland acquired a strategic stake in Australand Property Group. David Jones earnings were weighed down on a weakness in its credit card unit.

In active trading, Australian stocks traded in a tight range but managed to close higher. Banks and resource stocks led the gainers.

Australian dollar closed at 91.21 U.S. cents and stock market trading turnover climbed to 1.1 billion shares worth $5.72 billion.

The ASX 200 index rose 11 or 0.2% to 5,355.60 and the broader All Ordinaries increased 12.80 to 5,373.

Stocks in Review

Rio Tinto gained 57 cents to $61.85 and awarded Southern Cross Electrical Engineer Limited two contracts worth more than $10 million.

BHP increased 60 cents to $36.07. Woodside Petroleum Limited slid 2 to $37.99.

Westpac Banking Corp added 5 cents to $33.59.

Wotif.com soared 23% to $3 and the Australian Exchange asked the company to explain unusual trading activity in the share after Bloomberg reported a block trade of 7.5 million share before the market open.

David Jones Limited slid 0.3% to $3.32 after the department store operator reported revenue in the first-half increased 3.8% to $1.04 billion from a year ago.

Same store sales increased 1.1% and online sales surged 220% from a year before.

Net profit gained 4.6% to $70.1 million compared to $64.02 million a year ago.

Macquarie Group Ltd rose 0.1% to $54.55 after the investment bank agreed to sell its private equity funds management division to the unit''s three managers with undisclosed amount of the sale price.

Origin Energy Limited fell 0.5% to $14.35 after the company said its drilling operations at Australia Pacific LNG Project in central Queensland have restarted. The company had suspended drilling at 12 coal-to-seam gas drilling sites due to a possible asbestos presence last week.

Stockland Corporation Ltd dropped 2.6% to $3.75 after the property developer agreed to acquire 19.9% stakeor 115.2 million shares at an average price of $3.78 each in Australand.

Separately, Singapore-based CapitaLand Ltd said it sold its remaining 39.1% stake in Australand for about $849 million.

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