ANZ, BHP, Cochlear, Telstra, Woodside: Australian Stock Preview

The following is a list of companies whose shares may have unusual moves in Australia. This preview includes news announced after markets closed. All prices are from yesterday’s close unless otherwise stated.

The S&P/ASX 200 Index futures contract due in December gained 0.8 percent to 4,624 as of 7:59 a.m. in Sydney. The Bank of New York Australia ADR Index rose 2.5 percent. The S&P/ASX 200 Index declined 0.1 percent to 4,584.70.

Mining shares: Copper futures for March delivery rose 1.5 percent to close at $3.7665 a pound at 1:27 p.m. on the Comex in New York. Separately, Australian Energy Minister Martin Ferguson said there won’t be any change to the headline rate of the government’s proposed mining tax. He made the comments to ABC radio today.

BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP AU), the world’s largest mining company, slipped 0.4 percent to A$42.95 in Sydney. Its American depositary receipts climbed 2.2 percent in New York trading. BHP was downgraded to “underperform” from “neutral” at Exane BNP Paribas.

Rio Tinto Group (RIO AU), the world’s third-biggest miner, lost 1.3 percent to A$82.49 in Sydney.

Oil producers: Crude for January delivery increased 3.2 percent to $83.86 a barrel in New York, the highest settlement since Nov. 15, after U.S. jobless claims fell to the lowest level since 2008.

Woodside Petroleum Ltd. (WPL AU), Australia’s second-biggest oil and gas producer, advanced 0.5 percent to A$40.77. Santos Ltd. (STO AU) was unchanged at A$12.38.

Gold producers: Gold fell for the first time in three days in New York as demand for a haven dropped after the euro rebounded and Korean concerns eased.

Newcrest Mining Ltd. (NCM AU), Australia’s largest gold producer, rose 0.7 percent to A$39.67.

Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. (ANZ AU): The lender won’t make a counter-bid for a stake in Korea Exchange Bank after Hana Financial Group Inc. offered as much as $4.2 billion, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.

Separately, a person familiar with the matter said ANZ sold about A$700 million ($686 million) of debt owed to it by Centro Properties Group. ANZ shares fell 0.3 percent to A$22.28.

Clough Ltd. (CLO AU): The Australian engineering company was raised to “neutral” from “underperform” at Credit Suisse Group AG, according to Bloomberg data. The stock rose 0.8 percent to 64.5 Australian cents.

Cochlear Ltd. (COH AU): The maker of the world’s best-selling hearing implant was raised to “neutral” from “underperform” at Credit Suisse Group AG, according to Bloomberg data. The shares climbed 2.7 percent to A$76.87.

Telstra Corp. (TLS AU): Family First Senator Steve Fielding said he’ll back the bill that splits Australia’s largest telephone company, opening the way for Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s National Broadband Network. Telstra shares gained 1.5 percent to A$2.78.

Whitehaven Coal Ltd. (WHC AU): Whitehaven is unlikely to announce the winning bidder for the coal company before March, the Australian Financial Review reported in its Street Talk column without saying where it got the information. The stock added 0.5 percent to A$6.76.

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