5:30 PM Sydney – Weakening commodities prices in Australia and international markets dragged stock market indexes in Sydney. Construction industry sector index rebounded in March to show an expansion. AGL Energy agreed to gas delivery deal with BHP and Esso Australia for three years.
Price decline in commodities markets dragged stock market indexes in active trading.
Market indexes opened lower and the Aussie dollar held firm as investors focused on earnings announcement and digested the local implication of a merger plan between Royal Dutch Shell and the U.K. based BG Group.
Separately, the construction industry showed an early sign of a rebound and the performance index tracking activities in the industry rose 6.2 points to 50.1 in March.
The index, tracked by the Housing Industry Association, above 50 indicates growth expansion in the sector and below 50 indicates a decline.
Australian dollar closed at 76.92 U.S. cents and in stock trading turnover dropped to 601 million shares worth $4.4 billion.
At close, the ASX 200 Index slipped 28.50 or 0.5% to 5,932.20 and the broader All Ordinaries Index decreased 26.80 to 5,901.50.
In commodities trading, gold declined US$15 to US$1,195 an ounce and Brent crude gained 86 cents to close at US$56.41 a barrel.
Australian Stock Movers
Apache Energy Limited
, the energy company’s U.S. parent agreed to divest the exploration company to a consortium of private equity funds managed by Macquarie Capital Group Ltd and Brookfield Asset Management Inc for about $2.1 billion in cash.
The deal is expected to close in second-quarter of this year.
slid 0.3% to $14.26 after the packaging solutions provider agreed to acquire Brazil-based tobacco packaging company Souza Cruz, majority-owned by British American Tobacco Plc for about US$30 million.
AGL Energy Ltd
fell 0.3% to $15 after the gas and electricity distributor secured gas supplies agreement with Esso Australia Resources Ltd and a BHP Billiton Petroleum Pty Limited for conventional natural gas from Bass Strait to deliver to 1.5 million residential and small business gas customers from January 2018 to 2020.
Leighton Holdings Limited
dropped 1.5% to $21.03 after the engineering construction company secured a contract worth about $160 million to design and construct an extension of the Mitchell north-west Freeway in Perth.
Singapore Telecommunications Ltd
slipped 0.7% to $4.19 after the communications services provider said its subsidiary Optus Pte renewed extended managed service contract to provide voice and data communications on mobile and fixed line with the Australian Taxation Office until June 2018.