5:00 PM Sydney – Australian markets traded lower after commodities prices eased on weak economic data from the U.S., China and euro zone. Australian building approvals plunged 5.5%, the largest monthly sales decline in eight months.
Australian stocks declined on a weakness in resource stocks after investors focused on global economic worries.
Unemployment in the euro zone increased to a record high and Spain and Greece jobless rate surged above 26%. Also, private sector added less than expected jobs in the U.S. and China reported manufacturing growth slower than expected.
The ASX 200 index fell 36.20 or 0.7% to 5,130 and the broader All Ordinaries slid 39.80 to 5,104.10.
Australian dollar closed unchanged at $1.023 against the U.S. dollar and in stock trading turnover increased to 708 million worth $3.9 billion.
Building approvals declined 5.5% from a month ago to 12,599 in March, the largest decline in eight months, according to the data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
However, the approvals increased 3.9% from the month a year ago.
Stocks in Review
Flight Center Limited increased 0.8% to $38.20 after the travel booking services said annual underlying profit before tax increased to $340 million.
Rio Tinto slid $1.12 to $53.91 and BHP dropped 38 cents to $31.79. Fortescue Metals Group declined 15 cents or 4.3% to $3.33.
Woodside Petroleum Limited slipped 38 cents to $36.80 after the company entered into a contract with Royal Dutch Shell that would permit the joint venture between the two companies to proceed but the fate of the floating LNG project is still undefined.
Santos fell 16 cents to $12.02 and Kingsgate plunged 12 cents or 5.7% $1.97 and Whitehaven Coal dropped 7 cents to $1.83.
David Jones Limited lowered 8 cents to $2.83 and Breville Group slipped 10 cents to $6.84. Billabong slid 1 cent tot 46.5 cents.
Woolworths declined 57 cents to $35.67. Kathmandu surged 16 cents or 7.7% to $2.23.
Kathmandu Holdings Limited gained after the outdoors retailer said sales in the third quarter increased 13%.
Harvey Norman dropped 11 cents to $2.79 after the furniture retailer said third quarter sales increased 0.6% to $1.28 billion.
Toll Holdings declined 17 cents to $5.38, Leighton slipped 36 cents to $19.27 and Mirvac Group fell 1 cent to $1.74. Lend Lease down 2 cents to $10.50.
Westpac lowered 16 cents to $33.90, Commonwealth slid 0.6% to $72.50 and National Australia Bank down 0.3% to $33.84 and ANZ fell 0.6% to $31.50.
Macquarie Group jumped 39 cents to $38.88 and Wesfarmers slid 9 cents to $42.86.
Nufarm slumped 11 cents to $4.01 and Linc Energy plunged 11 cents or 5.9% to $1.77.
ASX Limited fell 9 cents to $37.68.