Bloomberg News

Australian Stocks: Caltex, Cochlear, NAB, Macquarie Group

February 07, 2012

Feb. 7 (Bloomberg) -- Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index slipped 0.5 percent to 4,274.2 at the close of trading in Sydney. The gauge erased gains of as much as 0.4 percent after the nation’s central bank unexpectedly kept its benchmark interest rate unchanged.

New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index rose 0.1 percent at 3,315.14 in Wellington today after being closed yesterday.

The following were among the most active shares in the Australian market today. Stock symbols are in parentheses after company names.

Bradken Ltd. (BKN AU) lost 2.7 percent to A$7.83 after the company reported first-half profit of A$43 million ($46.6 million), missing analyst estimates.

Caltex Australia Ltd. (CTX AU) increased 2.4 percent to A$12.39 after Goldman Sachs Group Inc. raised its recommendation for the shares to “neutral” from “sell.”

Cochlear Ltd. (COH AU) jumped 7.6 percent to A$62.52 after the maker of the world’s best-selling ear implant narrowed its first-half loss to A$20.4 million, which is less than than analysts’ estimate of A$24.9 million. The company also reported sales of A$387.5 million for the period, beating expectations for A$382.8 million.

National Australia Bank Ltd. (NAB AU) dropped 4 percent to A$23.21 after Chief Executive Officer Cameron Clyne said earnings were hurt by lower lending margins and a jump in bad debts in the U.K. The bank today reported cash profit for the three months ended Dec. 31 of A$1.4 billion, an increase of 7.7 percent from a year earlier.

Macquarie Group Ltd. (MQG AU) slid 0.8 percent to A$25.90. The shares earlier fell as much as 5.1 percent after Australia’s biggest investment bank said full-year earnings will decline by about 25 percent to A$717 million as it cut the outlook for its securities trading and investment banking business.

--Editor: John McCluskey

To contact the reporter on this story: Sarah Jones in Sydney at sjones35@bloomberg.net

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


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