March 16 (Bloomberg) -- Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index was little changed at 4,276.20 at the close of trading in Sydney to take its weekly advance to 1.5 percent. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index dropped 0.8 percent to 3,505.02 in Wellington, for a weekly gain of 2.1 percent.
The following are among the most active shares today. Stock symbols are in parentheses after company names.
BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP AU), Australia’s biggest oil producer, slipped 0.6 percent to A$34.97. Crude prices fell on the back of speculation the U.S. and U.K. may release oil from strategic reserves.
Coalspur Mines Ltd. (CPL AU) rose 2.1 percent to A$1.495, paring earlier gains of as much as 9.2 percent. The coal developer may be considering selling a stake in its Canadian project, said Andrew Harrington, a resources analyst at Patersons Securities Ltd.
Macquarie Group Ltd. (MQG AU) rose 0.6 percent to A$27.53. Moody’s Investor Services cut its credit rating on the stock one level to A3, citing “ongoing earnings challenges.”
Myer Holdings Ltd. (MYR AU) dropped 2.6 percent to A$2.23 after the stock’s rating was downgraded to “underweight” from “neutral” at JPMorgan by equity analyst Shaun Cousins. Australia’s largest department-store operator said yesterday that first-half earnings fell 18 percent as sales declined.
Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. (FMG AU) fell 2.8 percent to A$5.81. Australia’s third-biggest iron-ore exporter has become the world’s largest mining junk bond issuer after selling another $2 billion yesterday, cutting average borrowing costs by 3.3 percent.
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