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Australia, N.Z. Stocks: BHP, David Jones, Kathmandu, Rio

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March 21 (Bloomberg) -- Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index fell 0.5 percent to 4,254.30 at the close of trading in Sydney today. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index slipped 0.1 percent to 3,481.96 in Wellington. The following were among the most active shares in the market. Stock symbols are in parentheses after company names.

Mining stocks: The London Metal Exchange Index of prices for six industrial commodities including copper and aluminum fell 1.5 percent yesterday.

Rio Tinto Group (RIO AU) slid 0.4 percent to A$65.34. BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP AU), the world’s biggest mining company, fell 1.7 percent to A$34.70. The company yesterday said China’s steel production is slowing as the world’s biggest consumer of metals shifts to focus more on consumer spending rather than large building projects.

David Jones Ltd. (DJS AU) fell 11 percent to A$2.43, its biggest drop in eight months. The second-largest department store chain in Australia said full-year profit may fall as much as 40 percent amid a slide in consumer spending and higher costs. The company today reported net income fell 20 percent to A$85 million ($89 million) in the first half.

Kathmandu Holdings Ltd. (KMD NZ) dropped 14 percent to NZ$1.62 in Wellington after the retail company reported a 43 percent decline in first-half profit, citing difficult market conditions.

Medusa Mining Ltd. (MML AU) fell 9 percent to A$5.24 after the gold explorer said it expects 10 to 14 days of lost production because of electrical upgrades.

To contact the reporter on this story: James Paton in Sydney at jpaton4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rebecca Keenan at rkeenan5@bloomberg.net; Andrew Hobbs at ahobbs4@bloomberg.net

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