BHP, Iluka, Origin, Qantas, Woodside: Australian Equity Preview

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

The S&P/ASX 200 Index futures contract due in December gained 0.1 percent to 4,781 as of 7:59 a.m. in Sydney. The Bank of New York Australia ADR Index slipped 0.1 percent. The S&P/ASX 200 Index (AS51) added 0.2 percent to 4,766.90.

Mining shares: Copper for delivery in three months dropped 0.7 percent to $9,165 a metric ton ($4.16 a pound) on the London Metal Exchange at 6:11 p.m. in London yesterday.

BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP) , the world’s largest mining company, climbed 0.5 percent to A$45.65. Its American depositary receipts fell 0.3 percent in New York trading.

Rio Tinto Group (RIO) , the world’s third-biggest miner, gained 0.2 percent to A$87.90 in Sydney. Rio yesterday said it will spend more than $1 billion expanding two Canadian aluminum smelters to cut costs and electricity usage.

Oil producers: Crude oil for January delivery declined 0.4 percent to settle at $88.28 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange yesterday.

Woodside Petroleum Ltd. (WPL) , Australia’s second-largest oil and gas producer, gained 1.4 percent to A$43.36.

Gold producers: Gold futures for February delivery rose 0.4 percent to settle at $1,404.30 at 1:46 p.m. on the Comex in New York. Newcrest Mining Ltd. (NCM) , Australia’s biggest gold producer, rose 1.7 percent to A$40.83.

CFS Retail Property Trust (CFX) : The real-estate trust that invests in Australian shopping centers was downgraded to “neutral” from “outperform” at Credit Suisse Group AG. The stock was unchanged at A$1.805.

FKP Property Group (FKP AU): The real-estate company was rated new “overweight” at JPMorgan Chase & Co. Its shares advanced 1.9 percent to 81 Australian cents.

Iluka Resources Ltd. (ILU) : The world’s biggest zircon producer was downgraded to “neutral” from “buy” at UBS AG. Iluka shares rose 3.1 percent to A$8.71.

Origin Energy Ltd. (ORG) : Australia’s New South Wales state government has sold A$5.3 billion ($5.3 billion) of electricity assets to Origin Energy and TRUenergy Holdings Pty Ltd. and remains in talks on the sale of two gentrader contracts, according to an e-mailed statement. Origin shares gained 1.1 percent to A$16.80 when they last traded on Dec. 13.

Qantas Airways Ltd. (QAN) : Airlines may post a 40 percent decline in combined profits next year on slower economic growth, higher fuel costs and austerity measures in Europe, International Air Transport Association Chief Executive Officer Giovanni Bisignani told reporters in Geneva yesterday. Qantas, Australia’s biggest airline, climbed 0.8 percent to A$2.70.

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

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Nick Gentle at ngentle2@bloomberg.net.

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