Australia, N.Z. Stocks: Alumina, AMP, BHP, Qantas, Westpac

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index fell 1.7 percent to 4,181.9 at the close of trading in Sydney. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index slipped 0.2 percent to 3,286.45 in Wellington. The following were among the most active shares in the market. Stock symbols are in parentheses after company names.

Mining stocks: The London Metal Exchange Index of prices for six industrial commodities including copper and aluminum fell 0.5 percent yesterday.

Rio Tinto Group (RIO) slid 2.3 percent to A$67.28. BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP) , the world’s biggest mining company, fell 2.2 percent to A$35.30 after saying it shelved plans to build an aluminum smelter in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Alumina Ltd. (AWC) rose 1.3 percent to A$1.17 after the producer of the material used to make aluminum reported full- year net income more than tripled on record production and price gains in the first half.

AMP Ltd. (AMP) fell 2.3 percent to A$4.29. The asset- management company said full-year net income fell 11 percent on costs related to its takeover of Axa Asia Pacific Holdings Ltd.’s Australia and New Zealand units.

ASX Ltd. (ASX) rose 0.2 percent to A$30.40. The operator of Australia’s main stock exchange posted first-half net income of A$175.6 million ($188 million). The result missed the A$181 million estimate of analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News.

Qantas Airways Ltd. (QAN) climbed 6.1 percent to A$1.655 after announcing steps to reduce costs and boost profit. The airline will cut 500 jobs and eliminate some international routes after posting an 83 percent drop in first-half profit on higher fuel prices and costs. Net income fell to A$42 million in the six months ended Dec. 31.

Westpac Banking Corp. (WBC) fell 3.5 percent to A$20.22 after reporting lower first-quarter profit on higher funding costs.

Whitehaven Coal Ltd. (WHC) fell 0.5 percent to A$5.55. The coal miner reported first-half net income of A$19.9 million from a loss of A$35.1 million a year earlier.

To contact the reporter on this story: Soraya Permatasari in Melbourne at

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

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