April 19 (Bloomberg) -- Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index fell 1.4 percent to 4,793.30 as of the close of trading in Sydney. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index dropped 0.7 percent to 3,439.98 in Wellington.
The following were among the most active shares in the market today. Stock symbols are in parentheses after company names.
Mining companies: A measure of primary metals traded in London fell 1.9 percent to its lowest level in more than a month.
BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP AU), the world’s No. 1 mining company, dropped 1.7 percent to A$46.67, the biggest decline since March 15. BHP may also expand its iron ore operations in Western Australia’s Pilbara region to 480 million metric tons a year at a cost of A$48 billion ($50 billion), the Australian newspaper said, citing state and federal applications.
Rio Tinto Group (RIO AU), the world’s second-largest mining company by sales, lost 2.3 percent to A$82.10 in Sydney, the biggest drop since March 10.
Cellestis Ltd. (CST AU), an Australian biotechnology company, dropped 1.2 percent to A$3.42. The Cellestis Shareholders Action Group says it has secured a 34.2 percent stake in the company and may block a proposed takeover by Qiagen NV, the Australian Financial Review reported. The takeover of Cellestis is a “terrible outcome” for a company “starting to gain sales traction,” the newspaper quoted Gavin Ross, a spokesman for the group, as saying.
Gindalbie Metals Ltd. (GBG AU) lost 3.4 percent to A$1.01, the lowest level in almost a month. The iron-ore exploration company had its rating cut to “hold” from “buy” by Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc. because of uncertainty about operating costs and project timing.
Newcrest Mining Ltd. (NCM AU) fell 0.8 percent to A$40.80, its second day of declines. Australia’s largest gold mining company cut its production forecast a second time after third-quarter output fell 16 percent on heavy rainfall in Australia and a mine shutdown in Ivory Coast.
Woodside Petroleum Ltd. (WPL AU) fell 1.5 percent to A$46.05, the lowest level since March 24. Australia’s second-biggest oil and gas producer reported production in the March quarter of 15.6 million barrels of oil equivalent, down 19 percent from a year earlier, according to a regulatory filing.
Rival Santos Ltd. (STO AU) lost 2.2 percent to A$15.26, its second daily drop.
New Zealand Refining Co. (NZR NZ) fell 2.2 percent to NZ$4.50. David Jackson, Chairman of the company, said the environment for the refining business “remains volatile,” according to an annual general meeting speech released today.
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