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News Corp. to Return to Aussie Benchmark Share Index

Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. will return to Australia's benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index from the close of trade on June 15, 2007, global index provider Standard & Poor's said in a statement on Friday.

Recently-listed drilling services company Boart Longyear, Singapore Telecommunications, Mincor Resources, Queensland Gas and Sally Malay Mining have also been added to the index after a quarterly review.

"We believe that the changes announced today will continue to support the Australian equity market's strong position in a highly competitive global market place," Jason Hill, director and head of S&P's Index services Australia said in a statement.

Companies dropped from the index include troubled drugs maker and retailer Australian Pharmaceutical Industries, which posted a loss last year after problems with a new computer system, which also prompted a change in its top management.

Others to fall out the index are Arc Energy, Bendigo Mining, Kingsgate Consolidated, Kimberly Diamond and Tower.

Last year S&P flagged the likely return of News Corp. to Australia's widely-tracked share index in response to demand from cashed up institutional investors.

S&P agreed to make changes to remove inconsistencies which had allowed some foreign-based companies to be part of the index already.

News Corp., which was Australia's top stock in Australian stock indices for many years, was dropped in 2005 after it moved its home base to the United States.

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