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Market Update

Weak Resource Stocks Lead Australian Indexes Lower, China Slowdown Weighs

Author: Marcus Jacob
Last Update: 9:31 AM ET April 15 2013

6:30 PM Sydney – Resource sector stocks plunged after China reported a decline in economic growth and property and fixed-asset investment growth. Domestically, home loan growth increased for the first time in five months in February.

Stocks in Sydney opened lower and dropped to the lowest in the session around 2 p.m. after China reported weaker than expected economic data. Market indexes recovered in the late afternoon but still closed down for the day.

The ASX 200 index slipped 45.60 or 0.9% to 4,967.90 and the broader All Ordinaries declined 49.20 to 4,966.80.

Australian dollar closed up $1.044 and in stock trading, turnover decreased to 746 million shares worth $4.1 billion.

Australian home loans demand increased 2% in February to 45,423, according to the latest data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Total home loans increased 1.4% to $21.8 billion.

Chinese Economic Growth Slows

Chinese economic growth in the first quarter to March declined to 7.7% from the December quarter growth of 7.9% when the economy expanded after falling for seven quarters of decline.

For 2012, the economic growth eased to 7.8%, weakest since 1999 as the government clamps down on loan growth and engineers soft landing. China has targeted for the current year economic growth of 7.5% for the current year.

Retail sales growth in the quarter eased to 12.4% from 14.8% in the previous quarter and fixed-asset investment was unchanged at 20.9%. Industrial output increased at 9.5%, slower than 11.6% in the previous quarter.

And, the widely watched property investment growth declined 3.3 percentage points from the previous quarter growth rate to 20.2%.

Stock Movers

Miners led the decliners after China reported a decline in economic growth.

Rio Tinto was forced to shut down one of the largest copper mines in the world located in the U.S., Bingham Canyon Mine, after a massive landslide. The miner is schedule to report its production schedule later in the week.

Rio Tinto declined $1.81 to $55.09 and BHP dropped $1.04 to $32.31. Fortescue Metals Group plunged 25 cents or 6.2% to $3.76.

Woodside Petroleum slipped 40 cents to $36 and Santos fell 19 cents to $12.40.

Newcrest Mining plummeted $1.61 or 8.2% to $17.92, Kingsgate tumbled 53 cents or 15.2% to $2.96 and Whitehaven Coal slid 7 cents to $2.07.

David Jones Limited added 3 cents to $2.84 and Breville Group down 6 cents to $6.60. Billabong closed unchanged at 52 cents and Globe International closed unchanged at 41 cents.

Woolworths slumped 32 cents to $34.46. Kathmandu added 1 cent to $1.99.

Leighton’s subsidiary Thiess was selected for $125 million electrical system network work for the metropolitan Perth.

Toll Holdings slid 20 cents to $5.58, Leighton Holdings fell 11 cents to 19.41 and Mirvac Group gained 3 cents to $1.71. Lend Lease dropped 25 cents to $10.46.

Computershare Limited said it will invest $10 million to acquire 25% stake in the U.S. based InVeSHARE.

Westpac increased 7 cents to $31.59, Commonwealth rose 0.7% to $68.51 and National Australia Bank up 0.5% to $31.77 and ANZ added 8 cents to $28.79.

Macquarie Group declined $1.07 to $37.10 and Wesfarmers up 1 cent to $40.68.

Nufarm dropped 14 cents to $4.16. Linc Energy declined 8 cent or 4.2% to $1.96.

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