Australian stocks began a holiday-shortened week on a low note Monday, with the S&P/ASX 200 down 0.9% as pullbacks for crude oil and iron ore weighed on the resource shares. Among iron stocks, Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. and Atlas Iron Ltd. lost 3.5% apiece, and Mt. Gibson Iron Ltd. fell 1.4%, while senior miners BHP Billiton Ltd. and Rio Tinto Ltd. dropped 1.6% and 1.5%, respectively. Energy names also staged a retreat as crude futures gave up further ground in early Asian trading. Oil Search Ltd. fell 2.3%, Beach Energy Ltd. traded 3.5% lower, and Caltex Australia Ltd. led losses with an 8.8% tumble after Chevron Corp. said it had completed the sell-down of its Caltex holding at a significant discount to the last closing price. Stock in copper- and gold-mining company Panaust Ltd. remained untraded on news that shareholder Guangdong Rising Assets Management had launched a new takeover bid, but at a price more than 25% below what it had offered for the company last May. Among the gainers, airlines Qantas Airways Ltd. and Virgin Australia Holdings Ltd. rose 0.7% and 1%, respectively, celebrating the turn back down for oil prices.
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