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Market Update

Australian Trade Deficit Narrows, Aussie Dollar Eases

Author: Marcus Jacob
Last Update: 11:30 AM ET December 04 2014

5:30 PM Sydney Australian trade deficit narrowed in October to $1.32 billion from the revised $2.24 billion deficit in September. Retail sales in the month increased 0.4% from the revised 1.3% increase in September. Australian dollar edged lower.

Australian market indexes rebounded in active trading but investors remained nervous about the future direction of energy and precious metal prices.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics reported trade deficit in October narrowed to $1.32 billion from the revised $2.24 billion deficit in September from the initial estimate of $2.26 billion.

Exports in October jumped 2% to $26.90 billion from a year ago month and $26.50 billion in September.

Imports dropped 2% to $28.23 billion, decrease from $28.73 billion in the previous month.

In a separate report, the ABS said seasonally adjusted retail sales in October increased 0.4% to $23.74 billion, followed by upwardly revised 1.3% increase in September and 0.1% gain in August.

Australian dollar closed at 83.97 U.S. cents and in stock-trading turnover fell to 729 million shares worth $4.49 billion.

ASX 200 Index increased 47 or 0.9% to 5,368.80 and broader All Ordinaries Index rose 44.20 to 5,345.40.

In commodities trading, gold gained US$6 to US$1,206 an ounce and light crude oil rose 50 cents to US$67.38 a barrel.

Australian Stock Movers

Charter Hall Group rose 0.2% to $4.74 after the property developer agreed to raise $235 million to expand its investment in Bunnings partnerships.

Leighton Holdings Limited surged 6.7% to $21.18 after the engineering contractor secured a contract worth more than $150 million to expand the Sundrop Farms arid climate agricultural operations in South Australia.

The U.S.-based private equity firm KKR & Co invested about $100 million in the UK-based Sundrop Farms Holding Ltd, the agribusiness operator plans to install solar panels to desalinate seawater for the greenhouse crops in South Australia.

Santos Limited declined 3.8% to $8.73 after the oil and gas producer confirmed that the oil company is not looking to float hybrid equity offering of 1 billion in Europe after the recent drop in international oil prices.

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