Ausdrill, AWE, BHP, News, Norton Gold: Australia 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 gained 0.5 percent to 4,535 as of 6:59 a.m. in Sydney. The Bank of New York Australia ADR Index slipped 0.6 percent. The S&P/ASX 200 Index dropped 1.6 percent to 4,530.40.

Mining companies: Copper traded in London fell for the fourth straight day yesterday.

BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP) , the world’s No. 1 mining company, fell 0.9 percent to A$43.06. Its American depositary receipts dropped 0.3 percent in New York trading.

A strike at BHP’s Escondida copper mine, the world’s biggest, entered a fourth day amid concern that other mines in Chile may join the action.

Rio Tinto Group (RIO AU), the world’s second-largest mining company by sales, lost 0.5 percent to A$82.06 in Sydney.

Oil stocks: Crude for September delivery dropped 0.7 percent on the New York Mercantile Exchange yesterday.

Woodside Petroleum Ltd. (WPL) , Australia’s second- biggest oil and gas producer, lost 2.4 percent to A$38.85. Santos Ltd. (STO) , Australia’s third-largest oil and gas producer, declined 2.7 percent to A$13.02.

Gold producers: Gold futures for August delivery rose 0.7 percent to a record on the Comex in New York. Newcrest Mining Ltd. (NCM) , Australia’s biggest gold producer, gained 0.8 percent to A$40.35.

Ausdrill Ltd. (ASL) : The drilling services company said it received a letter of intent from Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. for a mining services contract connected with its Solomon iron- ore project in Western Australia. Ausdrill also said it’s looking at creating a new underground mining-services division in Australia. Ausdrill shares slid 0.6 percent to A$3.15.

AWE Ltd. (AWE) : The company which yesterday cut its oil- reserves estimate said it’s considering acquisitions in Australia, New Zealand and Asia. The Sydney-based explorer has more than A$100 million ($109 million) of cash and “could borrow on top of that to acquire quite a substantial asset relative to the company’s market” capitalization, Managing Director Bruce Clement said in a telephone interview yesterday. AWE shares slumped 10 percent to A$1.32.

News Corp. (NWSA) : News Corp. should split the roles of chairman and chief executive officer now held by Rupert Murdoch among other changes, according to the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, which represents about 300 organizations with assets of more than $100 billion. News Corp. (NWS) shares dropped 0.5 percent to A$15.12.

Norton Gold Fields Ltd. (NGF) : Zijin Mining Group Co. agreed to buy 138.4 million shares in Norton Gold Fields for A$27.7 million, giving it a 17 percent stake in the Australian gold and copper miner, according to a Shanghai Stock Exchange filing yesterday. Norton Gold’s shares surged 10 percent to 16.5 Australian cents when they last traded on July 22.

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

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

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