MARKETS SPECTATOR: Ausdrill barometer

Ausdrill is better off than some competitors, but its sharp profit downgrade indicates how vulnerable mining services companies are.

Mining services stocks are often seen as the canary in the coal mine. Their business outlook, reliant on the BHP Billitons and Rio Tintos of this world, can serve as an early warning signal or a clarion call to investors to pile into commodity stocks. That is perhaps why investors battered Ausdrill Ltd’s stock yesterday, sending it down 19 cents to $1.93 after it cut its full-year net profit forecast by as much as 20 per cent.

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