ASX slammed: China growth slows

Falling gold prices and weak Chinese economic data drags market down 1%

The S&P / ASX 200 Index (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) has recovered from the days’ low point, but still ending down 1% at 4,966.8 – its biggest fall in four weeks, after gold prices fell 5% on Friday, and continued falling today, while economic data out of China was much weaker than expected by analysts.

The Australian dollar has dropped against the US dollar, fetching 104.4 cents.

These three stocks were the best performers in the top 200 (and there weren’t many of them), rising more than 1.6%.

Federation Centres (ASX: FDC) ex- Centro Group rose 2% to close at $2.50, as the property group turns around its business, reduces its debt levels, while attracting new capital to redevelop its existing properties. Centro – err Federation has attracted more than $1 billion in direct new investment through joint venture partners in two shopping centre clusters over the past year, and more looks likely to come as sells off stakes in more shopping centres.

Harvey Norman Holdings (ASX: HVN) was up 1.9% to close at $2.63, having recovered from a year-low of $1.74, after reporting improving sales for the first time in some years. Over the past three months, Harvey Norman’s shares are up over 38%, compared to the index’s 5%. Improving consumer sentiment, rising online and bricks-and-mortar sales, and a strategy of competing more effectively against online only stores appear to be having a positive impact.

APA Group (ASX: APA) added 1.6% to finish at $6.27. On Friday, the company announced that it had agreed to sell its Moomba to Adelaide pipeline system for $400.6 million to QIC Global Infrastructure. APA is Australia’s largest gas pipeline group formed through a string of successful acquisitions. In August last year, APA paid $1.4 billion in cash and shares to acquire Hastings Diversified Utility Fund.

With its legendary, fully franked 28 cent dividend, Telstra is the darling of Aussie investors. Chances are even if you don’t own Telstra shares directly, your superannuation fund does. But with its share price skyrocketing over the past year, is Telstra past its prime? Click here for our brand-new report: Buy, Sell, or Hold Telstra?

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