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Market Update

Australian and Asian Markets Plunge

Author: Marcus Jacob
Last Update: 11:20 AM ET March 03 2014

5:00 PM Sydney Australian market indexes declined and the dollar edged lower against after Ukraine faced a military action from Russia. Transpacific Industries said it plans to sell its New Zealand based waste management business to China based fund.

Australian markets turned lower following the weakness in Asian markets after Ukraine crisis erupted and Russia took control of Crimea.

The brewing crisis plunged the ruble in weekend trading by 10% and futures of European market indexes also showed a negative bias as Russia faces rising pressure from international leaders to avert the military action.

Reserve Bank of Australia is widely expected to keep its benchmark interest rate at record low of 2.5% when policymakers meet on Tuesday.

Australian investors also reacted to a slew of economic data released by the government, private institutions and industry organizations.

An indicator of business profits adjusted for seasonal factors rose 1.7% in the December quarter, less than 2% estimated by several economists. Inventories declined 0.5% in the period compared to estimates of no change.

Australian new home and apartment sales increased 0.5% in January from the previous month and surged 17% from a year ago month, according to Housing Industry Association survey.

A separate survey by RP Data-Rismark showed average price of a home in Australian capital cites declined 0.9% in February and increased 9.5% from a year ago.

Australian dollar dropped to 89.20 U.S. cents and stock market trading turnover declined to 816 million shares worth $4.8 billion.

The ASX 200 index decreased 20.50 to 5,384.30 and the broader All Ordinaries slid 18 to 5,397.40.

Stocks in Review

Rio Tinto slumped $1.05 to $65.79. BHP fell 33 cents to $37.40. Woodside Petroleum Limited gained 37 to $38.32.

Westpac decreased 16 cents to $33.31.

Aveo Group increased 0.9% to $2.10 after the property and investment group sold its Brisbane-based three residential sites for $40 million.

Transpacific Industries Group Ltd closed unchanged at $1.18 after the company said its plans to sell its New Zealand waste-management business to China-based Beijing Capital Group for $880 or NZ$950 million.

The company said transaction is expected to complete by the end of June.

Worleyparsons Limited gained 1.1% to $16.65 after the infrastructure developer secured a contract worth about $130 million to provide engineering and procurement services in Canada.

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