Australia Stocks Fall As Banks Track Foreign Markets Lower

Australia stocks slumped in early Monday trade, catching up with losses in the U.S. and European markets Friday amid jitters over Greece's future in the eurozone and China's economic slowdown. The S&P/ASX 200 was down 1% about an hour into the session, with losses for the heavily weighted bank shares (Australia & New Zealand Banking Group and Commonwealth Bank of Australia down 1% each, Westpac Banking Corp. and National Australia Bank Ltd. down 1.1% each) helping insure a loss for the benchmark index. Mining shares were mixed, with an earlier improvement for iron-ore prices apparently adding support to Rio Tinto Ltd. (up 0.3%), and BC Iron Ltd. (up 1.9%), though initial gains for Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. melted away to leave the stock flat. Arrium Ltd. plunged 5.9% on the back of a downbeat production report, while output and guidance numbers from Oz Minerals Ltd. left its stock down 1%. Gold miner Evolution Mining Ltd. fell 1.6% after saying it was buying the Australian mines of La Mancha Group International BV, but rival Perseus Mining Ltd. rallied 3.4% as it updated its mineral-reserves report for its Edikan Gold Mine in Ghana.

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