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Market Update

Oil Price Drop Wreaks Havoc in Asian and Australian Markets


Author: Marcus Jacob
ticker.com
Last Update: 12:05 PM ET December 16 2014

5:30 PM Sydney – Australian stocks closed down following world markets weakness and the continued slide in oil prices. Oil futures extended losses for the sixth day in a row and Russian ruble collapsed forcing central bank to take emergency steps.

Stocks in Australia opened lower reacting to the tanking oil prices, sharp plunge in ruble and in European markets and China’s factory orders growth declined for the first time in seven months.

Investors turned cautious and sold stocks after oil price correction extended to 47% and ruble plunged 13% forcing Russian government to take unprecedented steps and dramatically lift interest rate by 6.5% at mid-night Moscow time.

However, in trading today Russian ruble continued to plunge and at one point dropped as low as 80 against one dollar before recovering to 72.

Australian dollar closed at 82.25 U.S. cents and in stock-trading turnover edged up to 678 million shares worth $4.2 billion.

Currencies of emerging market nations from Indonesia, Thailand, Brazil, Mexico, Turkey and India took hit on the dramatic collapse of Russian ruble.

ASX 200 Index slipped 33.80 or 0.65% to 5,152.30 and broader All Ordinaries Index slid 33.60 to 5,131.

In commodities trading, gold declined US$19 to US$1,198 an ounce and light crude oil dropped $1.82 to US$56.26 a barrel.

IPO

SurfStitch Group Limited, the retailer priced its public offering at $1 a share and the stock opened at 98 cents and a closed at $1.

The online surfwear retailer struggled on the first day of trading and the company raised $83 million and the offering valued the company at $214 million.

The retailer is expected to reach $199 million in sales and become profitable in 2015 after losing $6.5 million and $8.1 million.

Australian Stock Movers

GWA Group Limited fell 1.4% to $2.81 after the building fixtures and fittings supplier announced the sale of Brisvis Climate Systems for about $49 million to a subsidiary of Rinnai Corporation.

Investa Office Fund closed unchanged at $3.63 after the office property developer agreed to sell its 50% stake in Bastion Tower of Brussels for about €54.9 million or $83.3 million and expects to gain proceeds of about $23 million.

National Australia Bank Limited edged up 0.06% to $31.50 and the bank plans to sell an additional £1.2 billion or $2.3 billion parcel of commercial real estate loans tied to loans in the U.K. to an affiliate of Cerberus Global Investors.

The lender expects a gain approx $242 million or £127 million.

Woodside Petroleum Limited declined 2.6% to $34.46 after the oil and natural gas producer agreed to acquire Wheatstone LNG assets in Australia and Kitimat LNG project of Canada from the US-based Apache Corporation for US$2.75 billion.

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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