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Market Update

Australian Trade Deficit Widens, 33rd Monthly Decline in Construction

Author: Marcus Jacob
Last Update: 8:03 AM ET March 07 2013

6:30 PM Sydney Australian indexes rested after a solid surge in last four weeks. Trade deficit widened in January on lower shipments of coal and iron ore largely related to weather conditions. Construction activities declined for the 33rd month in a row in February.

Investors in Sydney took cue from international markets and rested after a sustained gain in the last two months.

Trade deficit in January widened to $1.07 billion from $868 million in December on lower exports of coal and iron ore.

Flooding in Queensland and inclement weather in Western Australia dampened the coal and iron ore shipments. However, the price of commodities improved.

Separately a measure of construction activity showed a decline for the 33rd month in a row.

The construction index in February increased 9.4 to 45.60 according to the data tracked by the Australian Industry Group and Housing Industry Association. Any index below 50 indicates shrinkage and above 50 shows growth.

Home construction increased but the weak activities in apartment building and commercial construction dragged the overall performance of the industry.

The ASX 200 index slid 7.60 to 5,109.20 and the broader All Ordinaries fell 7.75 to 5,123.13.

The Australian dollar declined to $1.0249.

Stock Movers

Rio Tinto up 3 cents to $63.23 and BHP closed unchanged at $35.82. Fortescue Metals Group slumped 10 cents to $4.40.

Woodside Petroleum decreased 6 cents to $37.09 and Santos slid 8 cents to $13.21.

Newcrest Mining fell 5 cents to $21.58. Kingsgate up 1 cent to $3.55 and Whitehaven Coal fell 4 cents to $2.59.

David Jones Limited gained 8 cents to $3.07 and Breville Group up 1 cent to $5.47. Billabong lowered 1 cent to 86.5 cents..

Woolworths slid 5 cents to $35.14. Kathmandu jumped 7 cents to $2.07.

Toll Holdings slipped 6 cents to $6.03, Leighton dropped 59 cents to $21.97 and Mirvac Group fell 2 cents to $1.62. Lend Lease down 2 cents to $10.44.

Westpac slumped 1.2% to $31.29, Commonwealth rose 0.5% to $69.68 and National Australia Bank up 0.7% to $31.06 and ANZ decreased 0.7% to $29.01.

Macquarie Group slipped 45 cents to $37.63.

Woolworths lowered 0.1% to $35.14 and Wesfarmers jumped 22 cents to $42.33.

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