Australia Stocks Fall, With Gold Miners Weak

By Michael KitchenMarketWatch Pulse

Australia stocks moved lower in early Wednesday trading, with the S&P/ASX 200 down 0.7%, returning some of its 1.9% advance in the previous session. Resource shares helped lead the retreat, with BHP Billiton Ltd. down 1.5%, Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. down 2.8%, and Karoon Gas Australia Ltd. dropping 3.5% after a 1.5% pullback for Nymex natural-gas futures overnight. Likewise, a sharp drop for Comex gold prices consigned Evolution Mining Ltd. to a 4.1% loss, while Newcrest Mining Ltd. fell 3%, and Perseus Mining Ltd. shed 3.6%. Stock in explosives-and-fertilizer maker Incitec Pivot Ltd. weakened by 2.6% after it said its Moranbah ammonium-nitrate plant had suffered a drop in its gas supply. Health insurer NIB Holdings Ltd. was down 1.7% after news it was buying travel-insurance company World Nomads Group Ltd. for just over $70 million.

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