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Market Update

Record Low Rates Held in Australia, Trade Surplus Narrows

Author: Marcus Jacob
Last Update: 9:05 AM ET May 06 2014

5:00 PM Sydney – Australian index closed higher after a rollercoaster ride and Reserve Bank of Australian left its key lending rate at record low 2.5%. The rates have been held for nine months in a row. March trade surplus narrowed but iron ore exports rose.

Australian stocks closed higher after a rollercoaster ride and Aussie dollar gained.

In its monthly policy statement, the Reserve Bank of Bank of Australia left interest rates unchanged and cash rate remains at a record low of 2.5%, for the ninth months in a row.

Mining exports declined and Australia’s trade surplus narrowed in March, the Australian Bureau of Statistics reported today.

In the month, exports declined 2% and imports were flat and seasonally adjusted trade surplus declined to $731 million from revised $1.26 billion. The monthly surplus was the fourth in a row.

China continues to import iron ore from Australia despite the signs of economic slowdown in the second largest economy.

Australian dollar closed higher at 92.88 U.S. cents and stock market trading turnover declined to 529 million shares worth $3.12 billion.

The ASX 200 index gained 19.20 or 0.5% to 5,481.40 and the broader All Ordinaries increased 19.30 to 5,462.70.

Stocks in Review

Rio Tinto slid 15 cents to $61.50. BHP rose 17 cents to $37.66. Woodside Petroleum Limited increased 0.7% to $41.26.

Westpac Banking Corp gained 24 cents to $34.69.

Australian Ethical Investment Limited tumbled 11.7% to $31.65 after the investment company forecasted earnings for the year between $2.3 million and $2.8 million from $1.06 million a year earlier.

The company expected underlying profit-after-tax for the year in the range of $2.5 million to $3 million compared to $1.67 million a year ago.

David Jones Limited rose 0.2% to $3.96 after the department store operator reported total sales in the third-quarter ending on April 26 jumped 4.1% to $407.2 million from $391.1 million a year ago.

The retailer said online sales in the quarter surged 190% from a year ago period.

The company added takeover proposal from South Africa-based Woolworths Holdings Ltd has been approved by Australia''s department of foreign investment.

Lynas Corporation Limited plunged 9.1% to 15 cents after the rare earth miner plans to raise a $40 million through a share purchase for debt repayments and to increase its rare-earths processing facility in Malaysian.

Leighton Holdings Limited gained 1.8% to $19.49 after the engineering construction group reported revenue in the first-quarter ending in March climbed 7% to $5.70 billion from $5.35 billion a year ago.

Net profit in the quarter surged 24% to $152 million compared to $123 million a year earlier.

The company added new work orders in the quarter jumped 10% to $4.4 billion from a year ago period while work-on-hand dropped 3% to $40.9 billion from last quarter.

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