Australian Equities Fall on Commodities Decline

Australian shares fell sharply on Monday as resources stocks followed oil and metals prices lower, while investors failed to take inspiration from late Wall St gains on Friday.  United States energy giant Chevron Corp’s $3.7 billion sale of its half stake in fuel firm Caltex Australia , Australia’s biggest block trade ever, also pushed the benchmark lower in line with the stock’s discounted sale price.

Caltex fell 10 percent to A$34.22 after Chevron swiftly unloaded its long-held stake over the weekend at a floor price of A$34.20.  By 0128 GMT, the S&P/ASX 200 index was down 1.3 percent or 78.9 points to 5841.0, its lowest since March 19.  “The commodity market is definitely the major factor,” said Quay Equities head of trading Tristan K’Nell.

“The market’s going to be very similar to last week with a lack of econmomic data not giving much of a catalyst to drive markets forward.”  Iron ore producer Fortescue Metals Group led its peers lower, dropping 4 percent after the key steel ingredient hit a record low last week. Larger rivals BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto each fell nearly 2 percent.

Reuters

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