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Australia, N.Z. Stocks: Atlas Iron, ASX, Elders, WorleyParsons

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index fell 0.5 percent to 4,687.80 at the 4:10 p.m. close of trading in Sydney. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index lost 0.1 percent to 3,285.44 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.

Atlas Iron Ltd. (AGO AU) slipped 1.9 percent to A$2.54. The Australian iron-ore producer was downgraded to “neutral” from “outperform” at Credit Suisse Group AG.

ASX Ltd. (ASX AU) slumped 7.4 percent to A$38.67 as Australian lawmakers said they’ll try to derail its takeover by Singapore Exchange Ltd. Separately, JPMorgan Chase & Co. downgraded Australia’s main stock exchange operator to “neutral” from “overweight.”

ASX shares jumped 19 percent yesterday as Singapore Exchange Ltd. agreed to buy the company.

Elders Ltd. (ELD AU) surged 4.5 percent to 69.5 Australian cents. Bendigo & Adelaide Bank Ltd. offered A$165 million ($163 million) to acquire the 40 percent of Elders’ Rural Bank it doesn’t already own, according to a regulatory filing.

WorleyParsons Ltd. (WOR AU) dropped 3.6 percent to A$22.36. The company said first-half results are likely to be below the same period a year earlier. It said it expects higher earnings in fiscal 2011, weighted to the second half.

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