Australia Stocks Slide Back Downhill; Medibank To Debut

Australian stocks pulled back early Tuesday, with the S&P/ASX 200 down 0.7%, after having ended the previous session with a 1.1% advance. Iron-ore miners, which had rallied a day earlier, mostly in reaction to China's interest-rate cut, headed back earthward: Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. lost 4%, Arrium Ltd. fell 3.8%, and Atlas Iron Ltd. traded 2.4% lower. Other miners were also broadly weaker, as BHP Billiton Ltd. dropped 1.4%, Rio Tinto Ltd. reatreated 0.8%, Evolution Mining Ltd. fell 0.9%, Whitehaven Coal Ltd. gave up 1.5% and Sandfire Resources lost 1%. Financials were mixed, with Commonwealth Bank of Australia down 0.4%, while Australia & New Zealand Banking Group added 0.2%. Shares of Toll Holdings Ltd. sat flat about half an hour into trade, after announcing asset sales worth close to $90 million, while engineering company ALS Ltd. plunged 7.2%, with its first-half profit beating its forecasts but with Macquarie cutting its price target on the shares and Deutsche Bank voicing caution on ALS's outlook, according to Dow Jones Newswires. Later in the session, shares of health insurer Medibank Private Ltd. were slated to debut, marking what reports said would likely be the biggest privatization IPO since the 1997 listing of telecom Telstra Corp. (shares of which were down 0.6%.)

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