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Market Update

RBA Minutes in Australia Raise Hopes for Additional Rate Cuts

Author: Marcus Jacob
Last Update: 9:57 AM ET May 19 2015

5:30 PM Sydney Australian stocks traded lower in weak market sentiment and Aussie dollar edged down. Market indexes swung higher in a brief rally after the release of latest RBA minutes of meetings. Bega Cheese fell 4% on weak annual profit outlook.

Market sentiment remained weak despite record closings on Wall Street and the release of RBA minutes supported buying.

The Reserve Bank of Australia released the minutes from its monetary policy meeting on May 5. At the meeting, policy makers decided to lower the cash rate by 25 basis points to 2%.

Australian dollar closed at 79.93 U.S. cents and in stock trading turnover jumped to 927 million shares worth $6.3 billion.

At close, the ASX 200 Index slipped 43.70 or 0.8% to 5,615.50 and the broader All Ordinaries Index decreased 40.60 to 5,619.40.

In commodities trading, gold slumped US$8 to US$1,222 an ounce and Brent crude slid 0.01 cents to close at US$66.26 a barrel.

Australian Stock Movers

AGL Energy Ltd fell 0.6% to $14.85 after the natural gas and electricity supplier signed a long-term agreement with Jemena Eastern Gas Pipeline Pty to purchase pipeline capacity on the Eastern Gas Pipeline project for 15-years from 2016.

Bega Cheese Limited declined 4.1% to $4.67 after the dairy products maker lowered its profit forecast for the fiscal year ending in March between $21 million and $24 million from earlier guidance in the range of $25 million to $28 million.

Rio Tinto Limited closed unchanged at $57.45 and the mining company reached a deal with Mongolian government and Canada-based Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd to resume work on the delayed $5 billion Oyu Tolgoi copper mine.

Ruralco Holdings Ltd surged 8.6% to $3.80 after the rural products seller reported revenues in the first-half ending in March climbed 36% to $742.8 million from $544.6 million in a year ago period.

Net profit in the period jumped doubled to $10.5 million compared to $5.1 million and diluted earnings per share climbed to 13.53 cents from 8.40 cents.

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