Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index dropped 3.7 percent to 4,038.50 at the 4:10 p.m. close of trading in Sydney, the biggest drop since Aug. 5. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index (NZSE50FG) fell 1.8 percent to 3,263.81 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.
Mining companies: A measure of primary metals traded in London fell 3.1 percent on Sept. 9. Copper futures for December delivery declined 3.4 percent on the Comex in New York, and dropped as much as 1.5 percent today.
BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP) , the world’s No. 1 mining company, lost 3.9 percent to A$36.45, its lowest close since May 25, 2010. BHP’s coking coal miners in Australia went back on strike after failing to agree on pay and work conditions with management, further disrupting the largest exporter of the steelmaking material.
Rio Tinto Group (RIO AU), the world’s second-largest mining company by sales, slipped 4.3 percent to A$68.20.
Oil stocks: Crude for October delivery dropped 2 percent on the New York Mercantile Exchange on Sept. 9, and as much as 2 percent today.
Woodside Petroleum Ltd. (WPL) , Australia’s second- biggest oil and gas producer, fell 4.3 percent to A$32.57, its lowest close since Feb. 23, 2009. Santos Ltd. (STO) , Australia’s third-largest oil and gas producer, declined 5.3 percent to A$10.91, the lowest since Oct. 28, 2008.
Australian lenders: Bank shares slumped on speculation a default by Greece on its sovereign debt may lead to another global credit crisis that may dent earnings.
Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA), the nation’s largest lender by market value, sank 4.1 percent to A$45.45, the biggest drop since March 2, 2009. National Australia Bank Ltd. (NAB), the nation’s biggest lender to companies, dropped 4.1 percent to A$22.36. Westpac Banking Corp. (WBC AU) retreated 4.6 percent to A$19.20 and Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. (ANZ AU) fell 3.7 percent to A$19.21.
Ansell Ltd. (ANN) dropped 5.2 percent to A$12.89. The maker of surgical gloves was downgraded to “hold” from “buy” at Deutsche Bank AG.
Brambles Ltd. (BXB) sank 3.8 percent to A$6.41. The world’s biggest supplier of wooden pallets has had to put back the sale of its Recall document-storage business because of global market volatility, the Australian Financial Review reported in its Street Talk column, without saying where it got the information.
Cochlear Ltd. (COH) tumbled 20 percent to A$57.50 after the maker of hearing implants announced a voluntary recall of one of its product ranges, prompting UBS AG to downgrade its investment rating to “sell’ from “neutral.”
Foster’s Group Ltd. (FGL) fell 1.6 percent to A$4.83 after the brewer said it recommended that shareholders reject SABMiller Plc’s takeover offer.
Hunnu Coal Ltd. (HUN) jumped 25 percent to A$1.725. Banpu Plc, Thailand’s biggest coal producer, agreed to buy the shares it doesn’t already own in Hunnu Coal Ltd., an Australian explorer seeking to develop mines in Mongolia.
Qantas Airways Ltd. (QAN) dropped 4.1 percent to A$1.52. Plans by Australia’s biggest airline to establish a joint venture with a Malaysian or Singaporean partner may not be realized until early 2013 because of the timescale needed for regulatory approvals, the Australian Financial Review reported, without saying where it got the information.
New Zealand Oil & Gas Ltd. (NZO) surged 4.4 percent to 71 New Zealand cents. The nation’s biggest publicly traded explorer said the receivers of Pike River Coal Co. agreed a payment from the mining company’s insurers following an explosion that killed 29 workers in November.
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