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Market Update

Australian Stocks Dive; Virgin Loss Narrows, Orica Writes Down $1.6 B

Author: Marcus Jacob
Last Update: 11:31 AM ET August 07 2015

5:30 PM Sydney, Australia ASX 200 index fell sharply and bank stocks led the decliners for the second day in a row. Virgin Australia reported net loss on widening loss in its international operations. Explosive maker Orica Ltd plans to write down $1.65 billion as mining industry downturn cuts demand.

Australian market indexes opened sharply lower following market drops in New York and extended weekly losses.

The seasonally adjusted home loans in June climbed 4.4% to 52,672 compared to 6.1% decline in May, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said.

The department added the value of home loans jumped 5.5% to $18.56 billion after 5.3% decrease in the previous month.

Australian dollar closed at 73.70 U.S. cents and in stock trading turnover gained to 710 million shares worth $5.9 billion.

At close, the ASX 200 Index declined 135.30 or 2.4% to 5,474.80 and the broader All Ordinaries Index slumped 127.80 to 5,472.30.

For the week, the ASX 200 plunged 3.7%.

In commodities trading, gold added US$2 to US$1,089 an ounce and Brent crude edged down 0.05 cents to close at US$49.54 a barrel.

Australian Stock Movers

Hills Ltd gained 0.9% to 53 cents after the electronic security systems provider forecasted net profit after-tax for the year of about $11 million and will take an impairment charge of $94 million.

Orica Ltd tumbled 16.9% to $15.64 after the blasting products provider lowered annual earnings outlook by 10% to 15% from the previous estimate of $490 million on the non-cash impairment charge in the range of $1.35 to $1.65 billion.

The mine explosive products maker completed buy back of 2.63 million shares worth about $53.5 million.

Payce Consolidated Limited closed unchanged at $8.50 after the residential and commercial property developer exchanged contracts to acquire 8.7 hectare industrial site in Wharf Road, in the western Sydney for about $144.5 million with a lease-back for up to 5-years.

Virgin Australia Holdings Ltd slipped 1.1% to 43.5 cents after the discount airline reported revenues in the first-half ending in June climbed 10.2% to $4.75 billion form $4.31 billion in a year ago period.

Net loss in the year narrowed to $93.8 million compared to $353.8 million and diluted earnings per share slumped to 43.5 cents from 237 cents in a year ago period.

The airline said domestic-revenue-passengers in the year slipped 1.3% to 17,128,596 from 17,349,453 and load factor fell 1.3 percentage point to 75.6% compared to 76.9% in a year ago period.

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