Australian, N.Z. Stocks: Aristocrat, Elders, JB Hi-Fi, Newcrest, Tabcorp

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index fell 1.2 percent to 4,558.30 at the close of trading in Sydney. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index dropped 0.5 percent to 3,054.19 in Wellington.

The following were among the most active shares in the market today. Stock symbols are in parentheses after company names.

Gold producers: Gold fell the most in a month, dropping from an all-time high as a strengthening dollar reduced demand for the precious metal as an alternative investment. Gold futures for August delivery declined 1.4 percent in New York yesterday.

Newcrest Mining Ltd. (NCM AU), Australia’s biggest gold producer, declined 1.8 percent to A$35.09. Lihir Gold Ltd. (LGL AU) fell 2.1 percent to A$4.31.

Oil companies: Crude oil declined for the first time in three days as optimism faded that China’s plan to add more flexibility in the yuan’s fixed exchange rate would strengthen the global economic recovery. Crude for July delivery dropped as much as 1.1 percent to $76.97 a barrel in electronic trading on the on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Woodside Petroleum Ltd. (WPL AU), Australia’s second- largest oil and gas producer, declined 0.8 percent to A$45.30, and rival Santos Ltd. (STO AU) slipped 2.8 percent to A$13.18.

Alesco Corp. (ALS AU) lost 4.3 percent to A$2.70. Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc. analyst Julian Guido cut the share- price forecast of the maker of building materials and home products to A$2.64 from A$3.24, while maintaining a “hold” rating on the stock.

APA Group (APA AU) rose 1.6 percent to A$3.78. The company, whose pipelines carry more than half Australia’s natural gas, was rated “hold” in new coverage by EL & C Baillieu Stockbroking Ltd. analyst Ivor Ries.

Aristocrat Leisure Ltd. (ALL AU) declined 2.5 percent to A$3.86. The world’s second-largest maker of slot machines was cut to “sell” from “hold” by Adam Alexander, an analyst at Goldman Sachs JBWere Pty. Alexander also reduced the share-price forecast to A$4.40 from A$5.10.

Elders Ltd. (ELD AU) tumbled 46 percent to 44 Australian cents. The world’s largest wool broker said it expects to report an underlying loss for the financial year.

JB Hi-Fi Ltd. (JBH AU) retreated 3.6 percent to A$19.65. Australia’s second-largest electrical retailer was cut to “neutral” from “overweight” at JPMorgan Chase & Co. by analyst Shaun Cousins.

Ramsay Health Care Ltd. (RHC AU) sank 2.4 percent to A$14.64. Australia’s biggest private hospital operator was cut to “hold” from “buy” by Alex Smith, an analyst at Citigroup Inc.

Sigma Pharmaceuticals Ltd. (SIP AU) slumped 4 percent to 48 Australian cents. The Australian drugmaker was cut to “underperform” from “neutral” by Steve Wheen, an analyst at Macquarie Group Ltd.

Tabcorp Holdings Ltd. (TAH AU) slid 1.9 percent to A$6.60. Australia’s biggest gambling company was cut to “neutral” from “outperform” at Credit Suisse Group AG by analyst Larry Gandler.

To contact the reporters on this story: Kana Nishizawa in Tokyo at knishizawa5@bloomberg.net; Tracy Withers in Wellington at twithers@bloomberg.net.

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