Newcrest, West Australian, 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. All prices are from yesterday’s close unless otherwise stated.

The S&P/ASX 200 Index futures contract due in March added 0.1 percent to 4,898 as of 11:57 p.m. in Sydney. The S&P/ASX 200 Index lost 0.7 percent to 4,900.

Gold producers: Gold climbed above $1,400 an ounce to the highest price in almost seven weeks in London as unrest in the Middle East and concern inflation will quicken boosted demand.

Newcrest Mining Ltd. (NCM AU), Australia’s biggest gold producer, rose 1.8 percent to A$39.71.

Oil companies: Oil surged to the highest price in more than two years in London as violence escalated in Libya, stoking concern supplies will be disrupted as turmoil spreads through the Middle East and North Africa.

Woodside Petroleum Ltd. (WPL AU), Australia’s second-largest oil and gas producer, lost 0.4 percent to A$42.58.

Amcor Ltd. (AMC AU): Australia’s biggest packaging company has asked BNP Paribas SA and Deutsche Bank AG to arrange meetings with European bond investors ahead of a possible issue, according to two people with knowledge of the sale. Amcor shares gained 1.9 percent to A$6.85.

BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP AU): BHP may offer discounted prices for its coking coal as it seeks to shift Japanese steelmakers to shorter term sales contracts for the raw material, UBS AG said. The world’s No. 1 mining company dropped 1.5 percent to A$45.85.

Challenger Ltd. (CGF AU): The Australian investment manager had its stock rating cut to “hold” from “buy” by analysts at Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc. The stock climbed 1 percent to A$5.08.

Fantastic Holdings Ltd. (FAN AU): The furniture retailer and manufacturer had its stock rating raised to “overweight” from “neutral” by analysts at JPMorgan Chase & Co. The shares advanced 2.7 percent to A$2.31.

Riversdale Mining Ltd. (RIV AU): Tata Steel Ltd., India’s biggest producer of the alloy, would like to retain its stake in Australia’s Riversdale, Tata Managing Director H.M. Nerurkar said in New Delhi yesterday. The stock gained 0.1 percent to A$15.71.

UGL Ltd. (UGL AU): The company with businesses ranging from engineering to property services had its stock rating raised to “buy” from “hold” by analysts at Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc. UGL shares slipped 0.5 percent to A$15.33.

West Australian Newspaper Holdings Ltd. (WAN AU): The newspaper publisher had its stock rating cut to “sell” from “hold” by analysts at Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc. Its shares rose 0.6 percent to A$6.34 when they last traded on Feb. 18.

Woolworths Ltd. (WOW AU): The retailer has two groups remaining in contention to buy its A$1 billion shopping center and development assets, including Charter Hall Group, the Australian Financial Review reported, without saying where it got the information. Woolworths shares fell 0.5 percent to A$26.83.

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