BHP Billiton, Billabong, Stockland, Westfield: Australian Stock Preview

The following is a list of companies whose shares may rise or fall in Australia. This preview includes news announced after markets closed yesterday. All prices are from yesterday’s close unless otherwise stated.

The S&P/ASX 200 Index futures contract due in September slipped 0.7 percent to 4,232 as of 6:59 a.m. in Sydney. The Bank of New York Australia ADR Index lost 1.5 percent. The S&P/ASX 200 Index declined 1 percent to 4,301.50.

Mining shares: Copper prices rose for the first time in three days in New York after a report showed U.S. manufacturing expanded for a ninth straight month.

BHP Billiton (BHP AU), the world’s largest mining company, lost 1.1 percent to A$37.65 in Sydney. Its American depositary receipts dropped 2.2 percent in New York trading. Rio Tinto Group (RIO AU), the world’s third-largest mining company, retreated 2.6 percent to A$66.66 in Sydney.

Rio and BHP, the second- and third-largest iron ore exporters, must share some of their Western Australian rail lines with rivals, the country’s competition tribunal said.

Billabong International Ltd. (BBG AU): The world’s biggest publicly traded surfwear maker said it has agreed to buy West 49 Inc. for C$1.30 a share. Billabong shares gained 1.2 percent to A$8.74.

Mirvac Group (MGR AU): The Australian real estate investment trust was raised to “outperform” from “neutral” at Credit Suisse Group AG. Mirvac shares fell 3 percent to A$1.315.

Stockland (SGP AU): Australia’s biggest housing developer was raised to “neutral” from “underperform” at Credit Suisse. Stockland advanced 0.3 percent to A$3.72.

Virgin Blue Holdings Ltd. (VBA AU): The airline will integrate its long-haul operation V Australia into its main business, Reuters reported in a story carried on the Sydney Morning Herald website that cites a memo from Chief Executive Officer John Borghetti to the airline’s staff. Virgin Blue shares lost 3.3 percent to 29.5 Australian cents.

Westfield Group (WDC AU): The Sydney-based owner of stakes in U.S. malls was raised to “neutral” from “underperform” at Credit Suisse. Westfield shares declined 2.2 percent to A$12.18.

To contact the reporters for this story: Shani Raja in Sydney at sraja4@bloomberg.net.

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