Australia stocks fall despite commodity-price gains
LOS ANGELES (MarketWatch) -- After touching a one-month high earlier in the week, Australia's benchmark S&P/ASX 200 (AU:XJO) fell 0.8% in early Wednesday trading, with gains for commodity prices unable to save the market from the effect of an overnight sell-off on U.S. and European bourses. Despite a 0.6% advance for spot iron-ore prices and sizeable gains for copper, zinc and other metals, the crucial mining shares traded mostly lower, with BHP Billiton Ltd. (AU:BHP)(BHP) down 0.9%, Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. (AU:FMG)(FSUMF) down 1.6%, and Oz Minerals Ltd. (AU:OZL)(OZMLF) down 1.6%, though Mt. Gibson Iron Ltd. (AU:MGX) managed to gain 0.3%. Shares of Aquila Resources Ltd. (AU:AQA) also improved by 0.3% after Aurizon Holdings Ltd. (AU:AZJ)(QRNNF) and China's Baosteel Resources said they would make a bid for the less than 10% of the company they don't yet own, as required by Australian law. Shares of Aurizon lost 0.9% in early moves. Shares of Alumina Ltd. (AU:AWC)(AWCMF) lost 0.7%, failing to get a boost from U.S. partner Alcoa Inc.'s (AA) better-than-expected quarterly results. Among other movers, Qantas Airways Ltd. (AU:QAN)(QUBSF) lost 2%, BlueScope Steel Ltd. (AU:BSL)(BLSFF) fell 1.9%, Billabong International Ltd. (AU:BBG)(BLLAF) retreated 2.1%, and and QBE Insurance Group Ltd. (AU:QBE)(QBEIF) lost 1.8% after Morgans lowered its price target on the stock while keeping its rating at hold.
-Michael Kitchen; 415-439-6400; AskNewswires@dowjones.com
Subscribe to WSJ: http://online.wsj.com?mod=djnwires
(END) Dow Jones Newswires