Bloomberg News

Australian, N.Z. Stocks: BHP, Charter Hall, Newcrest, Rio, UGL

December 10, 2011

Dec. 6 (Bloomberg) -- Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index fell 0.3 percent to 4,307.50 at 10:33 a.m. in Sydney. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index declined 0.3 percent to 3,291.83 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 estimates for iron-ore prices in the fourth quarter and 2012 by 7 percent to $148 a metric ton amid a deteriorating macroeconomic environment and slowing steel production growth in China.

BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP AU), the world’s biggest mining company, fell 0.5 percent to A$37.08. Rival Rio Tinto Group (RIO AU) dropped 1.1 percent to A$66.27.

Charter Hall Office REIT (CQO AU) rose 4.4 percent to A$3.57 after its board unanimously recommended a proposal from Public Sector Pension Investment Board and an entity owned by the Government of Singapore Investment Corp. The offer is worth about A$3.74 a share based on cash payments of A$2.49 for its Australian portfolio and expected proceeds from the sale of U.S. assets, according to Michael Scott, an analyst at JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Newcrest Mining Ltd. (NCM AU) fell 2.5 percent to A$34.52 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 0.9 percent to NZ$9.90 after A.P. Moller-Maersk decided to shift its Southern Star container shipping service to the harbor. Ports of Auckland Ltd. said it will lose 52 ship calls, 82,500 containers and NZ$20 million in revenue a year because of the switch to its rival.

UGL Ltd. (UGL AU) rose 0.8 percent to A$12.93 after its recommendation was cut to “hold” from “buy” by analysts at Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc, which cited gains in the stock. The share price forecast has been cut to A$14.07 from A$14.63, analysts led by Andrew Hodge said in a report.

--Editor: John McCluskey

To contact the reporter on this story: Robert Fenner in Melbourne at rfenner@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Nick Gentle at ngentle2@bloomberg.net


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