AUSTRALIAN INVESTORS HAVE WELCOMED RIO TINTO'S DECISION TO REPLACE OUT GOING CHIEF EXECUTIVE TOM ALBANESE ......WITH ITS IRON ORE DIVISION CHIEF AND FAMILIAR FACE SAM WALSH. MR ALBANESE'S SHOCK RESIGNATION COMES AFTER RIO TINTO MADE A MASSIVE WRITE-DOWN OF ABOUT 14-BILLION U-S DOLLARS ON ITS COAL AND ALUMINIUM BUSINESSES MADE UNDER HIS WATCH.

 

CHINA'S ECONOMY HAS GREW BY ONLY SLIGHTLY MORE THAN EXPECTED IN THE FOURTH QUARTER. OFFICIAL DATA SHOWS THE COUNTRY'S GDP ROSE SEVEN-POINT-NINE PERCENT WHEN COMPARED TO THE SAME QUARTER A YEAR EARLIER.STRONGER THAN EXPECTED ACTIVITY AT FACTORIES AND RETAIL SALES HELPED DRIVE GROWTH IN THE QUARTER. THE BOUNCE HAS SNAPPED SEVEN STRAIGHT QUARTERS OF SLOWING EXPANSION. THE MARKET was expecting a reading of  SEVEN-POINT-EIGHT PER CENT.

 

A CHECK OF THE market prices ..... RIO TINTO jumped ALMOST THREE PER CENT. MAIN RIVAL BHP BILLITON IS NEARLY HALF A PER CENT HIGHER. GAINS IN THE MOINERS HELPED THE AUSTRALIAN SHAREMARKET HOLD ON TO A 20 MONTH HIGH THE ALL ORDINARIES INDEX IS A THIRD OF A PER CENT HIGHER. THE ASX 200 INDEX IS UP A SIMILAR AMOUNT. CHECKING COMMODITIES - WEST TEXAS CRUDE OIL was STRONGER IN THE US OVERNIGHT AND THE AUSTRALIAN DOLLAR'S WEAKER AGAINST THE GREENBACK.