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Market Update

Weak China Growth Drags Australian Markets, Fairfax Soars 23%


Author: Marcus Jacob
ticker.com
Last Update: 8:36 AM ET February 20 2014

5:00 PM Sydney Australian market indexes trimmed the gains after a private survey in China suggested slowing manufacturing industry growth and moderate business conditions. Australian dollar eased. Fairfax Media soared 23% on earnings. Amalgamated Holdings Net fell 2%.

Australian market indexes faced turbulent trading after the release of private survey on Chinese manufacturing growth.

The preliminary survey from HSBC showed the flash Purchasing Managers Index fell to 48.3 in February from 49.5 in January.

Any data below 50 indicates a shrinkage in activities and growth and above 50 indicated growth.

Australian dollar closed lowered at 89.52 U.S. cents and in stock market trading turnover climbed to 1.11 billion shares worth $6 billion.

The ASX 200 index rose 4.10 to 5,412.30 and the broader All Ordinaries gained 5.80 to 5,421.30.

Stocks in Review

Rio Tinto dropped 61 cents to $69.59. BHP slid 4 cents to $38.70. Woodside Petroleum Limited increased 23 cents to $38.60.

Westpac fell 14 cents to $33.10.

Simavita Limited, the maker of medical devices started trading on the exchange today. The initial public offering was priced at 41 cents and the stock opened at 50 cents and closed at 62 cents.

AMP Limited surged 9.3% to $4.92 after the wealth management company reported net profit in the first-half ending in December slid 2.5% to $672 million compared to $689 million a year ago period.

The company added underlying profit for the period dropped 11% to $849 million from $950 million a year earlier.

Amalgamated Holdings Limited gained 1.9% to $8.20 after the leisure and entertainment group stated total revenue in the first-half ending in December climbed 5.5% to $568.5 million from $538.8 million a year ago.

Net profit in the period slipped 2.2% to $46.2 million compared to $47.3 million a year earlier.

Fairfax Media Limited surged 23.1% to 88 cents after the media company said revenue in the first-half ending in December fell 1.2% to $1.08 billion from $1.09 billion a year earlier.

Net profit in the first-half fell 49.8% to $193.8 million compared to $386.3 million a year ago period.

The earnings were lifted by the one-time gain of $221 million linked to the sale of websites InvestSMART, FRG Asia and Stayz Group.

Underlying profit increased 2.3% from a year ago period to $178 million.

The media company doubled its dividend to 2 cents a share and said its print publication division earnings declined in double digits and digital publications earnings surged 50%.

Mirvac Group closed unchanged at $1.75 after the real estate developer said revenue in first-half ending in December climbed 36% to $978.8 million from $718.8 million a year earlier.

Profit for the period surged 318.4% to $251.9 million compared to $60.2 million and diluted earnings per share jumped to 6.7 cents from 1.6 cents a year ago period.

Mirvac expects earnings per share for the year in the range of 11.8 cents to 12 cents.

Origin Energy Limited dropped 2% to $14.55 after the energy producer and distributor reported revenue in first-half ending in December fell 3% to $7.2 billion from $7.5 billion a year ago.

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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