BHP, Australand, Extract, Mirvac, Origin, Rio: Australian Equity Preview

The following is a list of companies whose shares may rise or fall in Australia. The preview includes news announced after markets shut yesterday unless otherwise stated.

The S&P/ASX 200 Index futures contract expiring in June gained 1.5 percent to 4,509 as of 6:55 a.m. in Sydney. The S&P/ASX 200 Index added 1.1 percent to 4,435.30. The Bank of New York Australia ADR Index jumped 6.1 percent.

Mining shares: Copper prices rose for a third straight day to $2.8625 a pound as reports signaled robust economic growth in China.

BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP AU), the world’s largest mining company, rose 1.4 percent to A$37.62. Its American depositary receipts surged 6.4 percent in New York.

Rio Tinto Group (RIO AU), the world’s third-largest mining company, added 2.2 percent to A$67.87 in Sydney.

The companies jumped in London trading after Australia’s Herald Sun said Prime Minister Kevin Rudd will make concessions on his planned mining-profits tax. Even so, BHP Chief Executive Officer Marius Kloppers sees a prolonged dispute over the tax, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

Rio’s Chief Financial Officer Guy Elliott said the company remains “cautious” on short-term volatility, China’s measures to cool its property market and Europe’s sovereign debt crisis. It expects continued improvement in its balance sheet over 2010, he said.

Oil companies: Crude oil jumped 1.5 percent to the highest level in four weeks as equities surged after reports from China, Japan and Australia indicated the global economic recovery is strengthening.

Woodside Petroleum Ltd. (WPL AU), Australia’s second- largest oil and gas producer, advanced 2.4 percent to A$43.91. The company was raised to “buy” from “hold” by Deutsche Bank AG equity analyst John Hirjee.

Rival Santos Ltd. (STO AU) increased 2.4 percent to A$13.09. The company is in talks with China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. about a potential A$400 million ($339 million) sale of a stake in its Queensland liquefied natural gas project, the Australian newspaper said.

Australand Property Group (ALZ AU): The diversified property group was rated new “overweight” by JPMorgan Chase & Co. equity analyst Richard Jones. The shares advanced 1.3 percent to A$2.40.

Extract Resources Ltd. (EXT AU): The uranium explorer said it will consider cooperation between its planned uranium mine and Rio Tinto’s Rossing mine in Namibia. Extract shares added 0.2 percent to A$6.84.

Mirvac Group (MGR AU): The real-estate investment trust was cut to “neutral” from “buy” by UBS AG equity analyst John Freedman. The shares gained 3.8 percent to A$1.36.

Origin Energy Ltd. (ORG AU): ConocoPhillips’ partner in a A$35 billion ($30 billion) liquefied natural gas venture in Queensland was downgraded to “hold” from “buy” by Deutsche Bank. The shares climbed 1.8 percent to A$15.50.

TPG Telecom Ltd. (TPM AU): The internet service provider may ahead of rival bidders for AAPT Ltd., being sold by Telecom Corp. of New Zealand, the Australian Financial Review reported in its Street Talk column, without saying where it got the information. The shares dropped 3.2 percent to A$2.09.

To contact the reporters for this story: Nichola Saminather in Sydney at

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