Australia Stocks Trek Lower, Led By Resources

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Australia stocks extended their downhill march Tuesday, as the S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.5%, having ended lower in the previous five sessions. With crude-oil futures spiralling ever downward, energy shares suffered (Woodside Petroleum Ltd. down 2.7%, Santos Ltd. down 2%, WorleyParsons Ltd. down 3.1%), while selling also hit miners of gold (Kingsgate Consolidated Ltd. down 2.3%, Newcrest Mining Ltd. down 2.9%), copper (Oz Minerals Ltd. down 2.3%, Sandfire Resources down 2%) and the diversified senior miners (BHP Billiton Ltd. down 3.1%, Rio Tinto Ltd. down 1.7%). On the other hand, iron-ore miners came rumbling back from recent losses (Arrium Ltd. up 1.3%, Atlas Iron Ltd. up 5.2%), though IG Markets analyst Stan Shamu said the sector would languish until spot iron ore moves back above $70 per metric ton. Meanwhile, a solid pullback for Wall Street overnight helped to push down the financials, as Macquarie Group Ltd. dropped 0.6%, and Westpac Banking Corp. eased 0.5%, but National Australia Bank Ltd. bucked the trend with a 0.4% gain after agreeing to sell almost $2 billion in British commercial real-estate loans to private-equity major Cerberus Global Investors. Also on the rise, Qantas Airways Ltd. added 1.3%, and Virgin Australia Holdings Ltd. rose 0.5%, celebrating the tumble for energy prices.

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