Aust stocks close slightly lower

Local stockmarket declines slightly following release of Chinese GDP figures.

The Australian stock market closed slightly lower following a raft of Chinese economic data, including GDP figures that showed Chinese economic growth slowed in the first quarter of 2013.

At the 1615 AEDT official market close, the benchmark index S&P/ASX200 index slipped 0.21% to 5,295 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index declined 0.17% to 5,307.6 points.

IG market strategist Chris Weston said Chinese industrial production numbers came in below forecasts, while GDP figures were better than expected.

“Industrial production came out just below forecasts at 9.7%, fixed asset investment grew 19.6% (consensus 19.8%) and retail sales were bang in-line at 13.6%.

“The December data prints were offset by a Q4 GDP print, which grew a touch better than what was priced in at 7.7%.

“The annual pace of growth for FY2013 was also 7.7%, thus twenty basis points above the government’s target.

“All-in-all nothing in this data series should alarm anyone, especially when you see alternative metrics like 2013 power output rising 8.3%,” he said.

Mr Weston said the materials sector found some support in the afternoon following the release of the Chinese economic data.

“There was a modest move higher in the ASX 200 on the Chinese data, notably in the materials plays (as you’d expect), which is starting to get more attention anyhow from traders,” he said.

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