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Market Update

Australian Stocks Decline, Construction Activities Shrink


Author: Marcus Jacob
ticker.com
Last Update: 11:35 AM ET May 27 2015

5:30 PM Sydney – Australian market indexes closed down in moderate trading and the Aussie dollar held firm. Construction spending declined on a seasonally adjusted basis but residential construction soared in the quarter.

Australian market indexes traded lower following weak market sentiments in overnight trading in New York and in Europe.

On the economic front, seasonally adjusted total construction work done in the first-quarter declined 2.4% to $48.40 billion and seasonally adjusted total building work done in the quarter jumped 3.3% to $23.60 billion the Australian Bureau of Statistics said today.

The department added residential work done in the period soared 11.4% to $14.73 billion and non-residential work completed rose 1.2% to 8.86 billion while total engineering work done in the quarter plunged 7.3% to $24.80 billion.

Australian dollar closed at 77.61 U.S. cents and in stock trading turnover jumped to 766 million shares worth $5.3 billion.

At close, the ASX 200 Index slipped 48.10 or 0.8% to 5,725.30 and the broader All Ordinaries Index decreased 46.20 to 5,724.20.

In commodities trading, gold tumbled US$14 to US$1,189 an ounce and Brent crude gained 0.63 cents to close at US$64.35 a barrel.

Australian Stock Movers

Orica Ltd fell 0.4% to $21.86 after the blasting products and services provider selected to make a first prepayment of $7.5 million to Strike Energy Limited as part of a Gas Sales Agreement.

Programmed Maintenance Services Limited climbed 3.5% to $2.64 after the maintenance and project services provider said total revenues in the year ending in March was flat at $1.43 billion from a year ago period.

Net profit in the year declined 15.7% to $25.7 million compared to $30.5 million and diluted earnings per share slipped to 21.7 cents from 25.8 cents in the same period a year ago.

Suncorp Group Ltd rose 0.1% to $13.42 after the bank and insurance company plans to invest $75 million in optimizing its insurance and banking operations that is estimated to deliver $170 million in benefits in the 2018.

Thorn Group Ltd increased 0.3% to $2.91 after the financial services provider said total revenues in the year ending in March soared 25% to $293.9 million from $234.9 million in a year ago period.

Net profit in the year climbed 9% to $30.6 million compared to $28.1 million and diluted earnings per share jumped to 20.34 cents from 18.94 cents in the same period a year ago.

UGL Limited jumped 3% to $2.41 after the outsourced engineering company secured new three year contract of operations and maintenance on 17 fuel terminals across the country from BP Australia for about $190 million.

The company also said it is set to deliver “solid growth in the 2016.”

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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