Austar, BHP, Dexus, Macarthur, News: Australian Stocks 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 September fell 0.9 percent to 4,521 as of 6:59 a.m. in Sydney. The Bank of New York Australia ADR Index dropped 3 percent. The S&P/ASX 200 Index declined 1.6 percent to 4,582.30.

Mining companies Copper futures for September delivery fell 1 percent to $4.368 in New York yesterday on concern Europe’s sovereign-debt crisis may spread to Italy, curbing economic growth and metal demand.

BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP) , the world’s No. 1 mining company, slipped 1.5 percent to A$44.30. Its American depositary receipts fell 2.7 percent in New York trading.

Rio Tinto Group (RIO AU), the world’s second-largest mining company by sales, lost 1.4 percent to A$83.20 in Sydney.

Oil stocks: Crude for August delivery fell 1.1 percent to settle at $95.15 a barrel in New York.

Woodside Petroleum Ltd. (WPL) , Australia’s second- biggest oil and gas producer, declined 2.6 percent to A$40.14. Santos Ltd. (STO) , Australia’s third-largest oil and gas producer, retreated 1.9 percent to A$13.38.

Gold producers: Gold climbed to a two-week high, topping $1,550 an ounce, on demand for a store of value amid escalating concerns that Europe’s sovereign-debt woes will widen.

Newcrest Mining Ltd. (NCM) , Australia’s biggest gold producer, was little changed at A$38.80.

Property stocks: Deutsche Bank AG cut the investment rating of property-investment companies. The bank downgraded Dexus Property Group (DXS) , Commonwealth Property Office Fund (CPA) and GPT Group (GPT) to “sell” from “hold.”

Dexus shares slid 0.6 percent to 88.5 Australian cents, Commonwealth Property lost 1.6 percent to 91 Australian cents, and GPT Group slipped 0.6 percent to A$3.09.

Austar United Communications Ltd. (AUN) : Foxtel, Australia’s largest pay-TV operator, reached a final agreement to buy billionaire John Malone’s Austar for A$1.9 billion ($2 billion) after meeting the conditions of the offer. Austar fell 1.9 percent to A$1.29.

Macarthur Coal Ltd. (MCC) : ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest steelmaker, and Peabody Energy Corp. said they approached Macarthur Coal with an offer that values the Australian coal producer at A$4.7 billion. Macarthur’s shares sank 2.8 percent to A$11.08.

News Corp. (NWSA) : The stock had the biggest retreat in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, sliding 7.6 percent in New York after U.K. political leaders pressed Rupert Murdoch to drop his bid to take full control of British Sky Broadcasting Group Plc, as the clamor over reports of phone hacking at the News of the World newspaper intensified. News Corp. shares dropped 5.1 percent to A$15.92 in Sydney yesterday.

Qantas Airways Ltd. (QAN) : Australia’s No. 1 airline may cut routes and seek tie-ups with competitors as it works to reverse losses at its international business, according to Neil Hansford, chairman of Strategic Aviation Solutions, a Sydney- based industry consultant.

The airline may stop flying to South Africa and South America to focus on routes to London and Los Angeles and shift Hawaiian services to the Jetstar budget unit, he said. Qantas shares dropped 3.3 percent to A$1.935.

OneSteel Ltd. (OST) : The Australian steel manufacturer refinanced its A$1.1 billion syndicated loan due to expire in August 2012 with a longer-term A$1.25 billion syndicated loan facility. The new facility includes an expanded pool of domestic and foreign lenders, and includes several tranches in Australian dollars, U.S. dollars and Canadian dollars expiring over three, four and five years. OneSteel fell 4.9 percent to A$1.93.

To contact the reporter on this story: Shani Raja in Sydney at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Nick Gentle at

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