Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index fell for the first day in seven, losing 1.5 percent to 4,257.20 at the close of trading in Sydney. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index declined 0.3 percent to 3,291.49 in Wellington.
The following were among the most active shares in the market today. Stock symbols are in parentheses after company names.
Mining stocks: Citigroup Inc. cut its estimate for iron-ore prices by 7 percent to $148 a metric ton in the fourth quarter and 2012 amid a deteriorating macroeconomic environment and slowing steel production growth in China.
BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP AU), the world’s biggest mining company, fell 1.5 percent to A$36.71. Rival Rio Tinto Group (RIO AU) dropped 2.2 percent to A$65.55.
Charter Hall Office REIT (CQO AU) rose 4.4 percent to A$3.57 after its board unanimously recommended a buyout from Public Sector Pension Investment Board and an entity owned by the Government of Singapore Investment Corp. The bid is worth A$3.74 a share based on A$2.49 per share for its Australian portfolio and expected proceeds from the sale of U.S. assets, according to Michael Scott, an analyst at JPMorgan Chase & Co.
Cudeco Ltd. (CDU AU) rose 0.7 percent to A$4.17 after the minerals explorer completed the placement of 24 million new shares to help fund its Rocklands Group Copper Project.
David Jones Ltd. (DJS AU) rose 0.7 percent to A$2.90. Australia’s second-largest department store chain reversed losses after the nation’s central bank cut interest rates by 25 basis points for a second straight month.
Newcrest Mining Ltd. (NCM AU) fell 4 percent to A$33.99 after Australia’s biggest gold producer had its recommendation cut to “hold” from “buy” by analysts at Deutsche Bank AG. Expected production for 2012 has been cut 7.5 percent and earnings-per-share estimates for the next two years have been lowered about 20 percent, analysts led by Levi Spry said in a note to clients.
Port of Tauranga Ltd. (POT NZ) rose 2.7 percent to NZ$10.07 after A.P. Moller-Maersk AS selected it as a stop for its Southern Star shipping service. Maersk, the world’s biggest container shipper, will begin visiting Tauranga on New Zealand’s North Island from Dec. 10 and will cease calling at rival Ports of Auckland, according to an e-mailed statement.
UGL Ltd. (UGL AU) fell 0.5 percent to A$12.77 after the engineering company’s recommendation was cut to “hold” from “buy” by analysts at Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc, who said the stock was overbought. The price estimate has been cut to A$14.07 from A$14.63, analysts led by Andrew Hodge said in a report.
Woodside Petroleum Ltd. (WPL AU) fell 2.1 percent to A$33.48 after a report said a court ruled that compulsory land acquisition notices by Western Australia state for the company’s Browse natural-gas processing hub were unlawful. Three land acquisition notices were declared invalid by Chief Justice Wayne Martin, of the Western Australia Supreme Court, Australian Associated Press reported today, citing a lawyer representing an indigenous group opposing the liquefied natural gas plant.