Australia Stocks Pull Back, But Junior Miners Talisman, Macmahon Jump

By Michael KitchenMarketWatch Pulse

Australia stocks went dancing down the chart early Thursday, with the S&P/ASX 200 losing 0.6% in the first hour of trade. Among the two most heavily weighted sectors of the Sydney market, financials were broadly weaker (Australia & New Zealand Banking Group down 0.5%, Westpac Banking Corp. down 0.7%) and miners were mixed (Rio Tinto Ltd. up 0.5%, BHP Billiton Ltd. up 0.3%, but Arrium Ltd. down 3.6% and Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. down 1.4% despite a gain for iron-ore prices). On the upside, Sandfire Resources rallied 4.6%, and Talisman Mining Ltd. surged by 40% after the pair confirmed a fresh copper-and-gold find at its joint venture's Springfield Project. Also leaping were shares of Macmahon Holdings Ltd. , up 41% after announcing the sale of its Mongolian unit for roughly $65 million. Retailer Myer Holdings Ltd. rose 1.1% after announcing it had refinanced about $460 million of debt at better rates, while back in the resource space, Oz Minerals Ltd. fell 4.3% on the back of a Credit Suisse downgrade of its shares to neutral from outperform.

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