Bloomberg News

Australia, N.Z. Stocks: BHP, Cavalier, Fortescue, OZ Minerals

February 15, 2012

Feb. 15 (Bloomberg) -- Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 0.3 percent to 4,253.4 at the close of trading in Sydney. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index slid 1.1 percent to 3,293.87 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 0.6 percent yesterday. BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP AU), the world’s biggest mining company, fell 0.2 percent to A$36.10. Rio Tinto Group (RIO AU) slid 0.6 percent to A$68.87.

Carsales.com Ltd. (CRZ AU) slipped 1.6 percent to A$4.98. The automotive website operator today reported first-half profit rose to A$33.1 million ($35.4 million) from A$27.7 million a year earlier.

Cavalier Corp. (CAV NZ), a New Zealand-based carpet maker, plunged 17 percent to N.Z.$1.90, the stock’s biggest decline in more than two decades, after saying full-year profit will be lower than expected as the European debt crisis curbs demand.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA AU), the nation’s biggest lender, rose 0.5 percent to A$50.23 after reporting that first-half profit rose 19 percent as fewer loans soured.

Fortescue Metals Group (FMG AU) slipped 1.4 percent to A$5.53. The third-biggest iron ore producer in Australia today reported first-half profit that missed analyst estimates and lowered its output forecast for the third quarter.

Oakton Ltd. (OKN AU) dropped 8.6 percent to A$1.07, its lowest close since April 2009. Shares fell after the information technology provider was downgraded to “neutral” from “outperform” by Credit Suisse Group.

OZ Minerals Ltd. (OZL AU) fell 1.3 percent to A$11.34, erasing gains of as much as 2.7 percent in earlier trade. Net income fell 53 percent to A$274.5 million in the year ended Dec. 31 without a one-time item that boosted earnings in the previous year, it said today. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg expected net income of A$268 million.

Perpetual Ltd. (PPT AU) climbed 7.2 percent to A$23.21. The financial services company raised its forecast today, saying underlying profit for the first half will be about A$34.7 million, higher than its previous guidance of as much as A$31 million. It also expects to pay a first-half dividend of 43 to 54 Australian cents per share.

The Reject Shop Ltd. (TRS AU), a discount retailer, rose 7.6 percent to A$11.84 after reporting profit rose 4 percent to A$16.6 million in the first half.

Westfield Group (WDC AU) climbed 5.3 percent to A$8.81, its biggest advance since August 2009. The shopping-mall operator reported a fivefold jump in second-half profit as property management and project income increased. It also said it will initiate a buyback for as much as 10 percent of issued capital.

--Editors: Jim Powell, John McCluskey

To contact the reporter on this story: Soraya Permatasari in Melbourne at soraya@bloomberg.net

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


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