5:30 PM Sydney – Australian stocks turned lower after China said exports and imports contracted. Rising yuan played a role in the sharply lower trade data. Mesoblast soared 24% after the U.S. based Celegen agreed to acquire a 4.5% stake in biopharmaceutical developer.
Stocks in Sydney trading faced head winds and resource stocks struggled after China reported weak trade data.
Exports in March plunged 15% and imports contracted 12.7% and coal imports by volume dropped 40%.
Commodities market turned volatile on the unexpected trade data from the second-largest economy in the world.
Australian dollar closed at 76.03 U.S. cents and in stock trading turnover gained to 531 million shares worth $3.5 billion.
At close, the ASX 200 Index fell 8.10 to 5,960.30 and the broader All Ordinaries Index slid 7.30 to 5,928.10.
In commodities trading, gold jumped US$9 to US$1,205 an ounce and Brent crude edged up 0.11 cents to close at US$57.98 a barrel.
Australian Stock Movers
Fortescue Metals Group Limited
declined 2.2% to $1.77 after the iron ore producer said it will not increase its production of the iron ore more than current levels until the market price stabilizes.
M2 Group Ltd
climbed 10.7% to $11.55 after the telecommunication services provider agreed to acquire New Zealand-based Call Plus Group and its related entity 2Talk Limited for NZ$250 million or $245 million.
The company said the deal will help the telecom services provider to lift earnings earnings per share by 15% in fiscal 2016.
The acquisition is expected to complete on or before June 30.
surged 24.3% to $3.99 after the bio-therapeutics products maker said U.S.-based Celgene Corporation agreed to acquire a stake of 4.5% or 15.3 million shares in the company for approx $58.5 million at a price of about $3.82 per share.
Celgene also secured six-month right-of-first-refusal on certain products developed by Mesoblast.