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Market Update

BHP Billiton Annual Net Drops 30%, Australian Dollar Eases

Author: Marcus Jacob
Last Update: 11:11 AM ET August 20 2013

4:30 PM Sydney – Australian indexes closed lower and consumer staples, resource and banking stocks led the decliners. Reserve Bank of Australia left the door open for a rate cut at the next meeting. BHP Billiton said annual net declined 30% to $10.9 billion. NAB third-quarter net increased to $1.7 billion.

Australian stocks closed lower after resource companies reported a sharp decline in earnings and issued cautious outlook for the rest of the year.

Australian dollar declined to 90.56 U.S. cents and in stock trading turnover slid to 737 million shares worth $4.4 billion.

The ASX 200 index slumped 34.30 or 0.7% to close at 5,078.20 and the broader All Ordinaries dropped 33.50 to 5,068.80.

The Reserve Bank of Australia released August board meeting minutes and left the door open for another rate cut.

“The RBA should neither close off the possibility of reducing rates further, nor signal an imminent intention to reduce rates further, and the course of the exchange rate would be important in setting policy,” the statement highlighted.

Stocks in Review

Rio Tinto slumped 63 cents to $59.51 and Woodside Petroleum Limited closed unchanged at $38.70.

BHP fell 50 cents to $36.54 after the mining company reported revenue in the year ending in June dropped 8.7% to $65.97 billion from $72.23 billion a year ago. Net profit declined 30% to $10.88 billion compared to $15.42 billion and diluted 203.7 cents from 288.4 cents a year earlier.

Profit from operation plunged to $19.23 billion from $23.75 billion in last year.

The diversified natural resources company said weak commodity prices reduced EBIT to $8.9 billion.

Westpac dropped 43 cents to $31.14.

National Australia Bank rose 21 cents to $31.57 and the bank reported revenue in the third quarter rose 1% to and net profit for the quarter increased to $1.70 billion compared to $1.20 billion a year ago.

As of June 30, the bank’s Basel III Common Equity Tier-1 ratio was 7.97% lower than the ratio of March 31.

Arrium Limited surged 16.8% to $1.15 after the mining company reported revenue in the year ending in June fell 3% to $6.08 billion.

Net in the year swung to a loss $ 694.7 million compared to net profit to $78.4 million and diluted loss per share swung to a 51.52 cents from earnings of 4.30 a year earlier.

Ansell Limited climbed 3.5% to $19.10 after the condom maker said sales in the year ending in June jumped 9% to $1.37 billion from $1.25 billion a year earlier. Profit for the year grew 5% to $139.2 million compared to $133 million a year ago.

QBE Insurance Group Limited declined 5.5% to $16.10 after the insurer reported gross written premium in the first-half rose 2.5% to $9.45 billion from $9.22 billion a year ago.

Profit for the period declined 20.3% to $854 million compared to $710 million and diluted earnings per share plunged 35.8 cents from 63.1 cents a year earlier.

Gross written premiums from North American operations plunged 16% to $2.7 billion as in February, the insurer wrote off $407 million for amortization and impairments from its U.S. operation.

The insurer expects an insurance profit margin for the year of 11%.

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