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Australian, N.Z. Stocks: AXA, CSR, Lihir, Harvey Norman, Perseus Mining

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 0.6 percent to 4,954.30 at the close of trading in Sydney. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index advanced 0.4 percent to 3,304.97 in Wellington.

The following were among the most active shares in the market today. Stock symbols are in parentheses after company names.

Australia:

Gold producers: Gold futures rose for the first time in three sessions in New York yesterday.

Newcrest Mining Ltd. (NCM AU), Australia’s biggest gold producer, gained 0.7 percent to A$33.97. Lihir Gold Ltd. (LGL AU), the second-largest gold mining company on the Australian stock exchange, rose 1 percent to A$3.92.

Axa Asia Pacific Holdings Ltd. (AXA AU) gained 1.5 percent to A$6.22. National Australia Bank Ltd. (NAB AU) may consider selling some parts of the Aviva units it acquired to win approval from the competition regulator for its bid for Axa Asia, the Age newspaper reported, without saying where it got the information. National Australia fell 1.3 percent to A$28.46.

CSR Ltd. (CSR AU) gained 1.2 percent to A$1.70. The company said it’s still in talks with China’s Bright Food Group Co. on the sale of its sugar unit and hasn’t received an approach from rival Japanese companies.

Harvey Norman Holdings Ltd. (HVN AU), Australia’s biggest furniture and electronics retailer, rallied 2.1 percent to A$3.45 after the stock was raised to “buy” from “hold” at Citigroup Inc.

Mirabela Nickel Ltd. (MBN AU) surged 5.6 percent to A$2.85 after the price of the metal gained 2.2 percent in London yesterday. Minara Resources Ltd. (MRE AU), Australia’s second- largest nickel producer, gained 2.2 percent to 93 Australian cents.

Perseus Mining Ltd. (PRU AU), a mineral exploration company, jumped 4.5 percent to A$1.96 after reporting “impressive infill and extensional drill intercepts” at its Tengrela gold project on the Ivory Coast.

New Zealand:

PGG Wrightson Ltd. (PGW NZ), the New Zealand agricultural services company part-owned by China’s Agria Corp., rose 5.4 percent to 59 New Zealand cents after a parcel of 48.5 million shares changed hands. Rural Portfolio Investments Ltd., a 12 percent shareholder in Wrightson, said in February that it may consider selling 48.5 million shares in the company to help repay debt and meet other obligations.

To contact the reporters for this story: Shani Raja in Sydney at sraja4@bloomberg.net.

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