Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index fell 1.1 percent to 4,184.60 the close of trading in Sydney. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index slipped 0.7 percent to 3,308.9 in Wellington.
The following were among the most active shares in the market today. Stock symbols are in parentheses after company names.
Mining stocks: The London Metal Exchange Index of prices for six metals, including copper and aluminum, fell 3.8 percent yesterday.
BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP AU), the world’s No. 1 mining company, declined 0.6 percent to A$36.55. Rio Tinto Group (RIO AU), the second-largest global miner by sales, slipped 1.1 percent to A$66.40.
Mirvac Group (MGR AU) tumbled 2 percent to A$1.245. The property developer reaffirmed its full-year distribution guidance of 8.2 to 8.4 Australian cents.
Murchison Metals Ltd. (MMX AU) declined 3.4 percent to 28.5 Australian cents. The Western Australian government said it is sending delegates to China to discuss the Oakajee port and rail iron-ore infrastructure project. The iron-ore producer is jointly developing the project with Mitsubishi Corp.
OneSteel Ltd. (OST AU) plunged 18 percent to 98.5 Australian cents, the biggest decline on the benchmark index. The steelmaker said its earnings for the first half of the 2012 fiscal year are likely to be hurt by a decline in iron-ore prices as well as the rising Australian dollar.
Origin Energy Ltd. (ORG AU) dropped 2 percent to A$14.10. Australia’s largest energy retailer said it will search for coal-bed methane in Botswana in partnership with Sasol Ltd., a South African oil and gas company.
Westpac Banking Corp. (WBC AU) lost 1.9 percent to A$21.52. Australia’s second-largest bank said second-half profit fell 13 percent to A$3.03 billion ($3.14 billion) as lending slowed.
Woolworths Ltd. (WOW AU) slid 1.2 percent to A$23.39. Australia’s biggest retailer said in an investor briefing it expects subdued trading conditions until next financial year.