Australian stocks rolled lower early Wednesday, tracking losses for U.S. shares and on other Asian markets, with earnings and output reports taking center stage. The S&P/ASX 200 sat 0.9% lower about 40 minutes into trade, with BHP Billiton Ltd. down 0.7% to slightly outperform the benchmark after posting better-than-expected iron-ore production for the first half but also warning of new impairment charges of up to $650 million. Shares of South32 Ltd. , recently spun off from BHP, fell 1.2% as the market weighed its quarterly output report and news he company was reviewing the fair value of its assets, according to Dow Jones Newswires. On the other hand, some iron-ore miners managed to extend gains, with Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. up 2% and Arrium Ltd. rising 1.9%. Elsewhere on the market, construction-materials company Boral Ltd. rose 2.3% on upbeat guidance for the fiscal year ended in June, and energy name Caltex Australia Ltd. lost 1.9% after Bell Potter downgraded the shares to hold from buy, despite lifting its price target.
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