Australia Stocks Pull Back On Commodity Weakness

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Australian stocks bopped back to losses Wednesday, with the S&P/ASX 200 down 0.4% after a 0.5% gain in the previous session. Weak iron-ore and gold prices sent Rio Tinto Ltd. down 0.9%, Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. down 1.7%, Perseus Mining Ltd. down 3%, Kingsgate Consolidated Ltd. down 2.1%, and Mt. Gibson Iron Ltd. tumbling 7.3%, though Alumina Ltd. added 1.8%, and Independence Group NL rallied 2.7%, likely helped by a Deutsche Bank note recommending the pair, among other Australian mining names. As for the smaller miners, Indo Mines Ltd. dropped 3.2%, as Reuters reported the company admitted its Indonesia pig-iron project was not economically viable. Financials also fell, with Macquarie Group Ltd. down 0.9%, and National Australia Bank Ltd. lower by 0.7%. On the upside, Qantas Airways Ltd. added 0.5%, and Incitec Pivot Ltd. rose 1.1% as it announced a new non-executive director. Retaliers were mixed, with Harvey Norman Holdings Ltd. up 0.6%, and Myer Holdings Ltd. down 1.4%, ahead of retail sales data due out later in the day.

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