Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Australian stocks continue to slide

Australian shares slipped further on Wednesday morning as investors showed increasing signs of anxiety over the budget stalemate in Washington and the risk of a historic US debt default.

Reflecting the sense of nervousness over the lack of progress in resolving the US fiscal standoff, now in its eighth day, the sharemarket has slipped for four straight days.

''People kind of assume it will go away in due course, but it hasn't,'' said Credit Suisse equity strategist Damien Boey in Sydney.

''Nobody will believe the US government will seriously default, but there is a possibility of a selective default on certain bills.''

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The post-election optimism also seemed to have faded away,  Mr Boey said. A survey showed on Wednesday that Australian consumer confidence eased in October, pulling back from a 33-month peak.

At 12.35pm AEDT , the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index was down 4.1 points, or 0.08 per cent, at 5145.3.

Donald Williams, chief investor officer at Platypus Asset Management, said that some investors welcomed the correction as they have been struggling to find value in the Australian market for several months.

''It looks like we are finally getting a decent correction. The market needs a break just to refresh valuation,'' Mr Williams said.

''I think the fundamentals are OK, and more likely to improve than deteriorate.''

In resources, BHP Billiton was half a cent higher at $34.705, while Rio Tinto had lost 35.5 cents to $59.895.

Goldminer Newcrest had dropped four cents to $10.79 after announcing the departures of its chairman and chief executive, following this year's disastrous write-downs.

The big four banks were also mixed, with ANZ down six cents at $30.38, National Australia Bank down 4.5 cents to $34.145, Commonwealth Bank off one cent at $71.09 but Westpac up 27.5 cents at $32.255.

Coalminer Inova Resources climbed 2.4 per cent during early trade after Australia's foreign investment regulator approved a takeover plan by Chinese company Shanxi Donghui.

Discovery Metals tumbled 5.9 per cent early on, a victim of the recent turmoil in Singapore's Blumont Group, which agreed to invest in Discovery but had lost more than $S6 billion ($4.81 billion) in market value over four turbulent trading days.

Linc Energy extended losses, dropping 4.0 per cent during the morning, and has tumbled more than 20 per cent since the company said last week it would move its listing to Singapore by December.

Reuters, AAP


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