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Asciano, Aston, BHP, Newcrest, Rio: Australian Stocks 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 the Sept. 23 close unless otherwise stated.

The S&P/ASX 200 Index futures contract due in December fell 0.2 percent to 3,921 as of 6:57 a.m. in Sydney. The Bank of New York Australia ADR Index added 0.6 percent. The S&P/ASX 200 Index declined 1.6 percent to 3,903.20.

Mining stocks: A measure of primary metals traded in London fell 3.2 percent on Sept. 23 for a sixth straight daily decline, while copper futures for December delivery dropped 6 percent in New York.

BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP AU), the world’s No. 1 mining company, dropped 3 percent to A$34.55. Its American depositary receipts climbed 0.7 percent in New York trading.

Rio Tinto Group (RIO AU), the world’s second-largest mining company by sales, slid 3.8 percent to A$62.65 in Sydney. The company may consider a spinoff of some aluminum assets in Australia, the Australian Financial Review reported in its Street Talk column, without saying where it got the information. Mongolia’s government said it sent a proposal to Rio’s partner Ivanhoe Mines Ltd. to boost its stake in the Oyu Tolgoi copper project to 50 percent. Workers at Rio’s Rossing uranium mine in Namibia started a strike on Sept. 23 after rejecting a proposed settlement amid a bonus dispute.

Oil stocks: Crude oil for November delivery plunged 9.2 percent to $79.85 a barrel in New York on Sept. 23.

Woodside Petroleum Ltd. (WPL AU), Australia’s second-biggest oil and gas producer, declined 3.6 percent to A$31.37. Santos Ltd. (STO AU), Australia’s third-largest oil and gas producer, dropped 2.4 percent to A$10.85.

Gold producers: Gold futures for December delivery sank 5.9 percent in New York.

Newcrest Mining Ltd. (NCM AU), Australia’s biggest gold producer, dropped 4 percent to A$36.10. St. Barbara Ltd. (SBM AU) slumped 7.9 percent to A$2.09.

Asciano Ltd. (AIO AU): The owner of transport infrastructure hired Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc and Westpac Banking Corp. to help it refinance A$1.5 billion ($1.5 billion) of debt, three people familiar with the matter said. The shares declined 1 percent to A$1.465.

Aston Resources Ltd. (AZT AU): The coking-coal developer expects planning approvals for its Maules Creek project in the first quarter of 2012 and is targeting first commercial coal in mid-2013, according to a regulatory filing. The shares rose 1.7 percent to A$10.02.

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