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Market Update

Australian Stocks Fall on Fed Taper Worries, Qantas Debt Rated as Junk

Author: Marcus Jacob
Last Update: 10:15 AM ET December 06 2013

4:30 PM Sydney – Australian market index closed lower and for the week fell 2.5%. Fortescue reaffirmed its target to cut debt more than half but did not set the timetable. Competition commission limited the fuel discounts Woolworths and Coles can charge. Qantas debt was downgraded to a junk rating.

Australian indexes trimmed the losses of the day by close but banks led the decliners on the rising worries that the U.S. Fed tapering will increase the cost of funding for local banks.

Australian dollar gained to 90.52 U.S. cents. In stock trading, turnover soared to 1.1 billion shares worth $5.8 billion.

The ASX 200 index slid 12 to close at 5,186 and the broader All Ordinaries slumped 10.90 to 5,186.90. For the week, ASX 200 declined 2.5%.

Stocks in Review

Rio Tinto climbed 41 cents to $65.41. BHP fell 3 cents to $36.75.

Woodside Petroleum Limited gained 25 cents to $37.56 after awarded new exploration permits offshore New Zealand.

Westpac rose 2 cents to $32.51.

Australasian Wealth Investments Ltd soared 11.9% to 51.5 cent and the closed-end fund plans to acquire online financial services provider YourShare for $10.5 million.

Fortescue Metals Group Limited slid 0.2% to $5.68 after the iron ore producer said its new Kings mine and rail and port operations that it can export up to 175 million tons per annum from the Pilbara.

Fortescue is targeting to reduce its $12 billion debt to between $4 billion to $5 billion in next few years.

Flight Centre Travel Group Limited dropped 3% to $46 after the Federal Court’s upheld a law test case established by the competition commission. The competition watchdog sued in October 2012 for an attempt to fix airfare prices.

Insurance Australia Group Ltd slid 0.5% to $5.78 and the car and home insurer plans to bid for insurance business of Wesfarmers with more than 200,000 policies.

Mirvac Group closed unchanged at $1.62 after the real estate investor agreed to acquire a residential site on Bondi Beach, Sydney for $53.5 million from Benevolent Society.

In fiscal 2013, Mirvac reported net profit of $139.9 million.

Qantas Airways Limited declined 3.7% to $1.03 after the share was placed on trading halt after a profit warning yesterday and Standard & Poor’s cut the company debt to junk status, placed at Baa3 rating on the airline, the lowest investment grade.

Sigma Pharmaceutical Limited closed unchanged at 57.5 cents after it sold a property in Clayton Victoria to a developer Cedar Woods Limited for $25.3 million. Transaction is expected to complete in July 2014.

The company expects to book a profit of $8 million to $10 million from the sale.

Wesfarmers Limited slid 0.1% to $41.70 and the company owned Coles and Woolworths Limited agreed to limit the fuel discount to a maximum of 4 cents a liter dictated by competition commission.

Regulator announce the measure to prevent unfair advantage over smaller retailers.

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