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ANZ, Austar, Macquarie, QBE, Ramsay: Australian Equity Preview

July 31 (Bloomberg) -- The following is a list of companies whose shares may rise or fall in Australia. The preview includes news announced after markets closed yesterday. Prices are from yesterday’s close unless otherwise stated.

The S&P/ASX 200 Index futures contract expiring in September rose 0.8 percent to 4,196 as of 6:59 a.m. in Sydney. The Bank of New York Australia ADR Index added 4.2 percent. The S&P/ASX 200 Index gained 1.2 percent to 4,190.40 yesterday.

Australia:

Mining stocks: Copper prices rose the most in two weeks in New York yesterday as government reports showed signs of economic improvement in the U.S. and Europe, easing concern that the global recession will continue to reduce metals demand.

BHP Billiton (BHP AU), the world’s largest mining company, fell 0.8 percent to A$37.15. The American depositary receipts trading in the U.S. climbed 4.4 percent.

Rio Tinto Group (RIO AU) added 0.2 percent to A$58.10 in Sydney.

Oil companies: Crude oil rose more than $3 a barrel in New York yesterday after better-than-expected corporate earnings and as jobless claims held below June levels.

Woodside Petroleum Ltd. (WPL AU), Australia’s second-biggest oil and gas producer, gained 0.6 percent to A$44.49.

Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. (ANZ AU): The bank may announce the purchase of Royal Bank of Scotland Plc’s banking assets in Taiwan as early as next week, Dow Jones Newswires reported, without saying where it got the information. ANZ shares added 3.6 percent to A$17.74.

Austar United Communications Ltd. (AUN AU): The Australian pay-television company plans to use improved credit markets to refinance part of its A$850 million ($702 million) senior bank debt, Chief Executive Officer John Porter told the Australian Financial Review. Austar shares advanced 4.9 percent to 96 Australian cents.

Boart Longyear Ltd. (BLY AU): The provider of drilling services to mining companies is edging closer to raising as much as A$350 million ($289 million) in capital, the Australian Financial Review reported, without saying where it got the information. Boart Longyear shares gained 4.2 percent to 25 Australian cents.

Macquarie Group Ltd. (MQG AU): Australia’s biggest investment bank may write down more than A$700 million ($578 million) of assets in the 2010 financial year because of a gap between the market value and book value of its listed equity investments, the Australian Financial Review reported.

The estimate is based on estimates by analysts including Goldman Sachs JBWere Ltd.’s Ben Koo, the Review said. Macquarie Group shares added 1 percent to A$43.70.

Premier Investments Ltd. (PMV AU): The clothing retailer was cut to “hold” from “buy” at Citigroup Inc. Premier Investments shares rose 1.3 percent to A$6.08 yesterday.

QBE Insurance Group Ltd. (QBE AU): Australia’s biggest property and casualty insurer may say it agreed to pay as much as A$300 million ($248 million) for Elders Ltd.’s insurance division to increase revenue from rural finance, the Australian Financial Review reported, without saying where it got the information. QBE shares slipped 0.3 percent to A$19.77.

Ramsay Health Care Ltd. (RHC AU): Australia’s biggest private hospital operator was raised to “neutral” from “underweight” at JPMorgan Chase & Co. The shares fell 1.2 percent to A$10.42.

Westfield Group (WDC AU): The world’s biggest shopping center owner by market value may announce a A$3 billion ($2.5 billion) capital raising as property companies seek to improve their balance sheets, the Australian Financial Review said in its Street Talk column. Westfield shares added 0.4 percent to A$11.17.

To contact the reporter for this story: Phoebe Sedgman at psedgman@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Darren Boey at dboey@bloomberg.net.

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