Russian International Reserves Fall $15.7 Billion in Week to Dec. 19

Australian Stocks: ANZ, BHP, Rio Tinto, Transfield, Newcrest

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index fell 0.9 percent to 4,245.3 at the close in Sydney, erasing its weekly again, after the Reserve Bank of Australia lowered its forecasts for growth and inflation this year.

New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index climbed 0.6 percent to 3,348.13 in Wellington.

The following were among the most active shares in the market. Stock symbols are in parentheses after company names.

Aquarius Platinum Ltd. (AQP) lost 3.7 percent to A$2.33 after the company yesterday reported a first-half loss of $113.5 million compared to a profit of $94.3 million a year earlier. Production at all South African mines was negatively affected by regulatory safety stoppages, the company said.

BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP) , the world’s biggest miner, dropped 2.3 percent to A$36.30 as copper retreated in London. Separately, workers at BHP’s coking coal mines in Australia will strike for seven days from Feb. 15 after rejecting the company’s latest offer.

Rio Tinto Group (RIO) dropped 2.3 percent to A$69.98. The world’s third-largest mining company swung to a second-half loss, its first in four years, after taking an $8.9 billion one- time charge on the value of its aluminum business. Deutsche Bank AG estimated on Feb. 6 that Rio Tinto would take a charge of $6 billion on the unit.

Transfield Services Ltd. (TSE) jumped 12 percent to A$2.20 after the provider of services to the oil and gas industry confirmed its full-year profit forecast will be at least 17 percent higher than analyst estimates. Net income for year will be at the lower end of its A$130 million ($139 million) to $135 million range. Analysts forecast a profit of A$111.5 million, according to the median estimate.

Mount Gibson Iron Ltd. (MGX) slid 3.6 percent to A$1.35 after JPMorgan Chase & Co. downgraded the Australian iron-ore producer to “neutral” from “overweight.”

Newcrest Mining Ltd. (NCM) gained 1.7 percent to A$34.01 after Australia’s largest gold mining company reported a 50 percent increase in first-half profit to A$659 million, driven by gains in prices for the metal.

To contact the reporters on this story: Sarah McDonald in Sydney at; Sarah Jones in London at

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

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