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Australian stocks start lower, S&P200 drops 0.3%

Australian stocks start lower, S&P200 drops 0.3%

SYDNEY: Australian stocks started lower on Friday but soon they recovered to avoid further losses. In this session, the S&P/ASX 200 dipped 0.3% at the morning, as energy and some mining rebounded from heavy losses earlier in the week.
Oil and gas stocks helped support the market as bargain hunters reportedly stepped in, shrugging off a drop below the key $60-a-barrel level for Nymex crude-oil futures. Santos Ltd. (AU:STO) (STOSF) rose 3.6% as J.P. Morgan applauded cuts to company’s investment budget, though the shares were still down more than 28% for the month. Likewise, Caltex Australia Ltd. (AU:CTX) (CTXAF) rose 4.4% on the back of better-than-expected full-year profit guidance, while Karoon Gas Australia Ltd. (AU:KAR) (KRNGF) gained 2.2%, and Woodside Petroleum Ltd. (AU:WPL) (WOPEF) added 1%. Iron-ore miners also saw a bit of bounce, as Atlas Iron Ltd. (AU:AGO) rose 3.6% (but was down almost 20% for month), and Arrium Ltd. (AU:ARI) (ARRMF) gained 6.5% (but was down 31% for the month and down almost 90% for the year). Still, some of the larger miners pulled lower, with BHP Billiton Ltd. (AU:BHP) (BHP) off 1.4%, Rio Tinto Ltd. (AU:RIO) (RIO) lower by 1.1%, and Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. (AU:FMG) (FSUMF) losing 0.8%. Utah-based Boart Longyear Ltd. (AU:BLY) saw its stock retreat 2.7% after its pretax-profit outlook for the fiscal year missed expectations. Meanwhile, the top bank shares helped keep the broader market underwater, as Australia & New Zealand Banking Group (AU:ANZ) (ANEWF) gave up 0.8%, Westpac Banking Corp. (AU:WBC) (WEBNF) fell 0.5%, and Commonwealth Bank of Australia (AU:CBA) (CBAUF) was down 0.4%. Looking ahead, a key risk event in the form of Chinese economic data due in the afternoon hung over the market, with industrial output and retail sales among the numbers slated for release from Australia’s top trading partner. In other news, Reserve Bank of Australia Gov. Glenn Stevens told the Australian Financial Review in an interview that he saw 75 U.S. cents as a good level for the Australian dollar (AUDUSD) . In early Friday forex action, the Aussie was at 82.63 U.S. cents, down almost a cent on the day, according to FactSet.