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Australian, N.Z. Stocks: BHP, Commonwealth Property, Wesfarmers

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index dropped 1.6 percent to 4,463.80 at the 410 p.m. close of trading in Sydney. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index (NZSE50FG) slipped 0.5 percent to 3,396.79 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.

Oil stocks: Crude oil for September delivery fell 2.2 percent on the New York Mercantile Exchange yesterday.

Woodside Petroleum Ltd. (WPL) , Australia’s second- biggest oil and gas producer, fell 1.6 percent to A$38.92. Santos Ltd. (STO) , Australia’s third-largest oil and gas producer, retreated 1.8 percent to A$12.85.

BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP) , the world’s No. 1 mining company by market value, fell 2.3 percent to A$42.03. The company’s copper mining unit declared force majeure on its shipments of the metal as its workers continued their strike to gain improved bonuses and benefits. Force majeure is a legal clause invoked when companies can’t meet supply obligations because of circumstances beyond their control.

Commonwealth Property Office Fund (CPA) , a property trust, jumped 3.8 percent to 95 Australian cents, its steepest gain since February 2010. The company said it has agreed to sell a Sydney city office building to a private investor for A$395 million ($436 million), at a 15.3 percent premium to the asset’s value as of June 30, 2011.

Macquarie Group Ltd. (MQG) , Australia’s biggest investment bank by market value, sank 4.6 percent to A$27.99. The company said it expects its first-half financial result will be lower than the same period a year earlier, citing higher tax rate.

Mincor Resources NL (MCR) , a nickel mining and exploration company, retreated 2.7 percent to 92 Australian cents. Mincor said it expects to report a full-year net loss of about A$23.4 million on lower nickel prices and “operational setbacks.”

Novogen Ltd. (NRT) , a medical services company, surged 42 percent to 23.5 Australian cents after publishing pre- clinical study results of a drug that may fight ovarian cancer.

Qantas Airways Ltd. (QAN) , Australia’s largest airline by market value dropped, 1.6 percent to A$1.85. More than 300 warehouse workers will stop work for 24 hours tomorrow after employment contract negotiations broke down, the National Union of Workers said in an e-mailed statement.

Wesfarmers Ltd. (WES) , a Perth-based retailer and mine operator, declined 2.4 percent to A$29.37. The company said fourth-quarter sales from its Coles supermarkets rose 7.2 percent, missing the 7.4 percent median estimate of three analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News.

To contact the reporter on this story: Kana Nishizawa in Tokyo at knishizawa5@bloomberg.net.

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

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