Stocks hit February low

LOCAL stocks dipped to a one-month low this afternoon following ongoing Greek debt woes and despite the release of improved Australian employment data.


The S&P/ASX200 finished down 71.5 points to 4181.5 points while the All Ordinaries shed 70.2 points to 4257.2 points.

The fall was despite improved jobless figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics which found Australia’s unemployment rate dipped 0.1% to 5.1% in January.

The ABS said 46,300 people found jobs last month with 34,000 people finding part-time employment and 12,300 people nailing down full-time work.

In Europe, Luxembourg Prime Minster Jean-Claude Juncker said Europe was set to make all the necessary decisions regarding the bailout package, after he chaired a conference call between eurozone finance ministers yesterday, according to Bloomberg.

“Further considerations are necessary regarding the specific mechanisms to strengthen the surveillance of program implementation,” Juncker said.

After the conference call Greek finance minster Evangelos Venizelos told media that the country had met all the conditions by the European Union and International Monetary Fund for the funding lifeline.

Locally the major miners were down, with BHP Billiton shares down 2.22% to $35.30 while Rio Tinto shares dipped 2.31% to $67.28.

Fortescue Metals Group shares finished down 3.98% to $5.31 while Atlas Iron shares were down 4.92% to $3.09.

BC Iron shares were unchanged at $2.63 after it released a maiden half-year net profit before tax from the Nullagine iron ore joint venture of $A8.9 million, with nearly half of its costs paid for ore haulage services to the port.

Gold heavyweight Newcrest’s shares were down 1.51% to $33.94 despite issuing no news for the day while AngloGold Ashanti shares dipped 2.89% to $8.06, even after the company posted a record full-year profit of $US1.3 billion ($A1.2 billion) and doubled its dividend on the back of a strong performance from its African mines.

Gold’s spot price was down 0.45% to $1720.50 in afternoon trade in Singapore.

Base metals were down across the board with nickel for three-month delivery down 0.8% to $19,923 while tin dipped 0.6% and zinc shed 0.9% to $1993.

Copper dipped 1.2% to $8273 while lead fell 0.7% to 2047.75.

The Australian dollar was down to $1.06 at 3.53pm AEDT.

-with Bloomberg