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BHP Billiton, IAG, Sundance, Woodside: Australian Stock Preview

The following is a list of companies whose shares may have unusual moves in Australia. The preview includes news announced after markets closed on Feb. 11. All prices are from that day’s close unless otherwise stated.

The S&P/ASX 200 Index futures contract due in March rose 0.8 percent to 4,891 as of 7:59 a.m. in Sydney. The Bank of New York Australia ADR Index added 0.2 percent. The S&P/ASX 200 Index dropped 0.7 percent to 4,880.90.

Companies expected to report earnings today include: Paladin Energy Ltd. (PDN AU), which produces uranium in Africa, regional lender Bendigo and Adelaide Bank Ltd. (BEN AU), and Leighton Holdings Ltd. (LEI AU), Australia’s largest construction company.

Mining companies: A measure of metals traded in London rose 0.1 percent. Copper gained 0.2 percent, zinc 0.6 percent, and nickel 1.6 percent.

BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP AU), the world’s No. 1 mining company, dropped 0.8 percent to A$46.38. Its American depositary receipts gained 0.4 percent in New York trading.

BHP may buy back shares valued at $5 billion to $6 billion, which would bring the total value of shares bought back to around $10 billion, the Sunday Times reported, without saying where it got the information.

Rio Tinto Group (RIO AU), the world’s third-largest mining company, fell 1.6 percent to A$87.28 in Sydney. Rio forecasts high copper prices will continue amid rising demand and before output from new projects eases a supply shortfall.

Oil companies: Crude for March delivery declined 1.3 percent to $85.58 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the lowest settlement since Nov. 30.

Woodside Petroleum Ltd. (WPL AU), Australia’s second-largest oil and gas producer, lost 0.5 percent to A$42.26.

Insurance Australia Group Ltd. (IAG AU): The Sydney-based insurer said it sees first-half net profit of A$161 million ($161 million) and expects to pay an increased interim dividend of 9 Australian cents a share. Its shares slid 0.3 percent to A$3.78.

Sundance Resources Ltd. (SDL AU): Sundance’s costs to develop the Mbalam iron-ore project in Cameroon may climb 20 percent from its initial estimate to $4 billion, the Australian Financial Review reported, citing Managing Director Giulio Casello.

The explorer, which expects to obtain funding from a Chinese partner, may spend more on the venture after adding a drilling target, the newspaper said, citing Casello. Sundance’s shares retreated 1 percent to 49 Australian cents.

Telstra Corp Ltd. (TLS AU): Australia’s biggest telephone company was raised to “outperform” from “neutral” at Macquarie Research, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The stock rose 1 percent to A$2.91.

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