Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index fell 1.7 percent to 4,618.20, the biggest drop since Aug. 11, at the 4:10 p.m. close of trading in Sydney. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index slipped 0.1 percent to 3,230.83 at the 5 p.m. close in Wellington.
The following were among the most active shares in the market today. Stock symbols are in parentheses after company names.
Mining shares: Copper dropped in London, Shanghai and New York on the prospect of further credit tightening in China, the world’s largest user.
BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP AU), the world’s largest mining company, declined 1.7 percent to A$40.74. Rio Tinto Group (RIO AU), the third-biggest miner, lost 2.8 percent to A$77.87. PanAust Ltd. (PNA AU), the owner of the second-largest copper mine in Laos, decreased 2.4 percent to 80.5 Australian cents.
Oil producers: Crude oil fell for a second day after the dollar strengthened. Crude for November delivery today fell as much as 0.8 percent to $81.55 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Woodside Petroleum Ltd. (WPL AU), Australia’s second- biggest oil and gas producer, retreated 2 percent to A$44.04. Santos Ltd. (STO AU) declined 0.9 percent to A$12.80. New Zealand Oil & Gas Ltd. (NZO NZ), that nation’s biggest publicly traded explorer, lost 0.8 percent to NZ$1.33 in Wellington.
Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. (FMG AU) slumped 4 percent to A$6 after being downgraded to “sell” from “hold” at Deutsche Bank AG.
OM Holdings Ltd. (OMH AU) fell 2.4 percent to A$1.66. The Australian supplier of manganese to China had its stock rating cut to “sell” from “hold” by analysts led by Todd Scott at Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc.
WorleyParsons Ltd. (WOR AU) declined 1.9 percent to A$22.87. The Australian engineering group, which gets about 75 percent of its revenue from overseas, had had its stock rating cut to “hold” from “buy” by analysts led by Andrew Hodge at Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc.
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