Australia, New Zealand Stocks: BHP, Rio, Commonwealth, Incitec, Woodside

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 2.7 percent to 4,599.80 at the close of trading in Sydney, the biggest gain since Nov. 30, 2009. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index advanced 0.4 percent to 3,170.62 in Wellington.

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

Mining shares: Shares in mining companies and banks climbed on speculation an emergency package to bail out debt-laden European countries will contain the region’s credit crisis.

BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP AU), the world’s largest mining company, rose 4 percent to A$39. Rio Tinto Group (RIO AU) gained 5.9 percent to A$68.80.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia Ltd. (CBA AU) surged 5.2 percent to A$55.75. Westpac Banking Corp. climbed 3.5 percent to A$25.01.

Oil producers: Crude oil rose for the first time in five days on speculation the emergency fund being prepared by European policy makers will be sufficient to help maintain growth in the region.

Woodside Petroleum Ltd. (WPL AU), Australia’s second- largest oil and gas producer, advanced 0.9 percent to A$43.46. Rival Santos Ltd. (STO AU) rose 2.6 percent to A$12.87. New Zealand Oil & Gas Ltd. gained 2 percent to NZ$1.50 in Wellington.

Avexa Ltd. (AVX AU) tumbled 75 percent to 3 Australian cents after scrapping an HIV treatment in development for more than a decade.

Incitec Pivot Ltd. (IPL AU), Australia’s largest fertilizer maker, advanced 4.6 percent to A$3.18, after saying first-half profit rose 33 percent from a year earlier, when earnings were cut by one-time charges.

Iress Market Technology Ltd. (IRE AU) rose 3.1 percent to A$8.60. The financial-information provider was raised to “buy” from “neutral” at UBS AG.

Macarthur Coal Ltd. (MCC AU) fell 2.3 percent to A$13.38. Peabody Energy Corp., the biggest U.S. coal producer, cut its takeover offer for Macarthur Coal to A$3.8 billion ($3.4 billion) in the clearest sign yet that Australia’s planned 40 percent tax on mining profits will damp investment.

To contact the reporters for this story: Shani Raja in Sydney at

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