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Market Update

Australian Stocks Gain, Woodside's Israel Venture in Trouble

Author: Marcus Jacob
Last Update: 9:37 AM ET March 28 2014

5:00 PM Sydney – Australian stocks closed higher and trimmed weekly loss to 0.5%. For quarter, the index has increased 0.8%. Resource and bank sector stocks led the gainers in trading today. Woodside Petroleum may move away from its potential venture in Israel after the government failed to clarify tax policy.

Australian stocks closed higher and overcame the weakness in New York trading.

In active trading, banks, resource and transportation companies led the gainers. Trading volume jumped to a high in the year-so-far.

Australian dollar dropped to 92.74 U.S. cents and stock market trading turnover surged to high for the year to 848 million shares worth $6.2 billion.

The ASX 200 index gained 16.80 or 0.3% to 5,366.90 and the broader All Ordinaries grew 17.10 to 5,376.80.

For the week, ASX 200 rose 0.5%, for the month slid 0.7% and for the quarter increased 0.8%.

Stocks in Review

Rio Tinto rose 6 cents to $63.24. BHP increased 16 cents to $36.14.

Woodside Petroleum Limited gained 22 cents to $38.65 and the oil and gas explorer faces additional delays in completing its joint venture to explore offshore oil field near Israel.

The company has faced several delays in last one year, and the Israeli government has failed to clarify its production sharing and taxing policy.

Westpac Banking Corp jumped 21 cents to $34.43.

AWE Limited jumped 2% to $1.50 after the energy company agreed to sell a port of an oil asset in Yemen to Petsec Energy Limited. Petsec will acquire AWE’s 21.25% stake in the Block-7.

GPT Group gained 0.8% to $3.63 after the real estate developer agreed to acquire 50% stake in Melbourne-based Northland Shopping Centre for $496 million.

Navitas Limited soared 5.8% to $7.33 after the education provider extended contracts with the Federal government to provide English language training for new immigrants. The company said it will continue to operate its partnership with non-profit and community associations to assist new migrants with language skills.

The company enrolled student units to more than 18,000 in the first semester of the year, an increase of 6% from the earlier record.

Virgin Australia Holdings Ltd climbed 4% to 38.5 cents after Singapore airline lifted its stakes from 19.3% to 22.17%.

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