6:30 PM Sydney – Australian stocks closed higher and retail sales in December fell more than expected. The Australian dollar fell to its lowest level in the year so far. REA Group gained after profit rose 25%.
Australian stocks halted a 2-day decline and retail sales declined for the third month in a row.
December retail sales fell 0.2% from a year ago to $21.42 billion and increased 0.1% in the three months to the end of the year.
Australian Bureau of Statistics also said in the release that department stores sales increased 0.8% and consumer bought 0.8% more household goods. Sales of clothing, footwear and personal accessories increased 2.1%.
The ASX 200 index increased 38.30 or 0.8% to 4,921 and the broader All Ordinaries advanced 37.93 to 4,940.52.
The Australian dollar declined and closed at $1.031 and continued its slide for the third week in a row.
In stock trading, turnover increased to 2.03 billion shares worth $4.23 billion and 549 shares increased, 417 decreased and 342 closed unchanged.
Rio Tinto gained 75 cents to $68.08 and BHP increased 34 cents to $37.52 and the company met with workers in Adelaide and announced job losses to trim costs.
Lend Lease rose 5 cents to $10.26.
Oil Search Limited advanced 21 cents to $7.45 and Santos Limited jumped 24 cents to $12.10. Beach Energy closed unchanged at $1.36.
Woodside Petroleum increased 15 cents to $35.05 and Origin Energy Limited added 4 cents to $12.60.
Cochlear declined 4.1% or $2.96 to $70.
Woolworths climbed 87 cents to $32.65. Kathmandu up 3 cents to $1.87 and Wesfarmers increased 36 cents to $38.39
David Jones Limited increased 9 cents to $2.54 and. Breville Group rose 2 cents to $6.87.
Billabong added 1 cent to 96.5 cents and Globe International was halted and company directors were re-elected at a board meeting in Melbourne.
Primary Health Care closed unchanged at $4.49 after the company estimated fiscal year profit is expected to increase as much as 8%. The profit in the first-half increased 50%.
Commonwealth Bank of Australia up 33 cents to $64.63 and Bank of Queensland gained 16 cents to $8.64 and ANZ rose 39 cents to $27.03. National Australia Bank increased 32 cents to $28.11. Westpac added 21 cents to $28.13.
Macquarie Group rose 9 yen to 37.25 and Toll Holdings slid 8 cents to $5.25, Leighton lowered 9 cents to $20.36 and property developer Mirvac Group up 1 cent to $1.60.
Westfield Group added 1 cent to $11.26 and Pharmaxis fell 0.5 cents to 68 cents.