6:30 PM Sydney – Australian dollar and stocks edged lower and retail sales in February increased 1.3% and new car sales jumped 7.4% in March. New home construction approvals in February rose 3.1%.
Australian stocks traded lower after weak international markets and a decline in commodities prices.
Building approvals of new home construction increased 3.1% in February, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
Separately, the statistics bureau said retail sales increased 1.3% in February following a revised 1.2% increase in January.
The ASX 200 index dropped 44.20 or 0.9% to 4,913.50 and the broader All Ordinaries slumped 47.14 to 4,919.30.
Australian dollar traded near one-month high and closed down to $1.042 and in stock trading, turnover decreased to 1.93 billion shares worth $4.56 billion.
Australian vehicles sales increased 7.4% in March from February to 97,400, according to the data released by the Australian Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries.
March sales fell 0.2% from a year ago month, largely because of 3 fewer selling days. After adjusting for seasonal factors, sales increased 4.7%.
Toyota led the industry sales with market share of 19.2%, followed by 9.4% share by Mazda. Nissan and Hyundai shared third spot with 8.6% share and Holden held 8.5% of market share.
Rio Tinto declined 78 cents to $54.60 and BHP fell 48 cents to $31.75. Fortescue Metals Group slumped 12 cents to $3.55.
Woodside Petroleum slipped 26 cents to $35.51 and Santos rose 5 cents to $12.16.
Newcrest Mining plunged $1.01 to $18.49, Kingsgate tumbled 37 cents or 9.9% to $3.35 and Whitehaven Coal slumped 6 cents to $1.91.
David Jones Limited dropped 11 cents to $3 and Breville Group slid 2 cents to $5.98. Billabong closed unchanged at 73 cents and Globe International closed unchanged at 41 cents.
Billabong halted the stock indefinitely as two takeover bid talks drag.
Woolworths gained 29 cents to $34.41. Kathmandu dropped 7 cents to $1.94.
Toll Holdings fell 13 cents to $5.67, Leighton declined 44 to $19.63 and Mirvac Group closed unchanged at $1.63. Lend Lease down 4 cents to $10.10.
Westpac declined 36 cents to $30.79, Commonwealth slid 0.5% to $68.10 and National Australia Bank fell 0.3% to $31 and ANZ slipped 24 cents to $28.03.
Macquarie Group slumped 85 cents to $36.59 and Wesfarmers fell 23 cents to $40.46.
Nufarm slid 2 cents to $4.11. Linc Energy plunged 15 cents or 7.4% to $1.87.