Australia, N.Z. Stocks: AWE, BHP, Perseus, Platinum, Transurban

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index dropped 1.6 percent to 4,530.40 at the 4:10 p.m. close of trading in Sydney. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index (NZSE50FG) slipped 0.6 percent to 3,428.15 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.

Commodity stocks and lenders: Oil and copper prices dropped today in New York after U.S. lawmakers failed reach an agreement to raise the U.S. federal debt limit, intensifying concern of a default that may derail a global economic recovery.

House Speaker John Boehner told Republicans there’s no agreement on a plan for raising the ceiling before a default threatened for Aug. 2. The impasse has boosted the chance Standard & Poor’s Ratings Agency will cut the U.S. credit rating from AAA within three months to 50 percent, the company said July 21.

BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP) , the world’s No. 1 mining company, fell 0.9 percent to A$43.06. Rio Tinto Group (RIO AU), the world’s second-largest mining company by sales, lost 0.5 percent to A$82.06.

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, dropped 2.7 percent to A$13.02.

Banks also fell on speculation a U.S. default would hurt earnings. Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) , the nation’s biggest lender by market value, declined 1.9 percent to A$49.54. National Australia Bank Ltd. (NAB) slipped 2.3 percent to A$24.63.

Aston Resources Ltd. (AZT) climbed 2.7 percent to A$11.20 after the Australian coal developer said it reached agreement on A$350 million ($379 million) in revolving credit facilities to help fund a project in New South Wales state.

AWE Ltd. (AWE) plunged 10 percent to A$1.32. The operator of the $270 million Tui oil development off New Zealand cut the reserves estimate for the project by as much as 21 percent. New Zealand Oil & Gas Ltd. (NZO) , a partner in the project, tumbled 13 percent to 73 New Zealand cents in Wellington.

Linc Energy Ltd. (LNC) , which converts coal into liquid fuels, fell 4 percent to A$2.87 after saying ERG Resources LLC is disputing a Linc unit’s termination of a contract.

Newcrest Mining Ltd. (NCM) , Australia’s biggest gold producer, advanced 0.8 percent to A$40.35 after gold futures for August delivery rose 0.9 percent on the Comex in New York on July 22 and as much as 1.4 percent today.

Perseus Mining Ltd. (PRU) gained 0.9 percent to A$3.30. The Australian gold mining company with operations in Ghana cited “continuing significant drill intercepts” at the Fetish and Esuajah North deposits.

Platinum Australia Ltd. (PLA) sank 11 percent to 32.5 Australian cents. The company, which owns platinum and palladium mines in Australia and South Africa, said the Smokey Hills Mine ceased operations on July 22.

The Department of Mineral Resources of South Africa served a notice on mine operator Phokathaba Platinum Pty. claiming it failed to comply with social and labor policies, Platinum Australia said in a statement.

Transurban Group (TCL) lost 3.4 percent to A$5.18 after its second-largest shareholder, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, sold its stake.

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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