Australia, N.Z. Stocks: BHP, Newcrest, Rio, Sigma, Telstra, Transurban

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index advanced 1.7 percent to 4,652.50 at the close of trading in Sydney. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index gained 1.3 percent to 3,195.80 in Wellington.

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

Mining shares: Copper rose for the first time in three days in London after the U.K. and Spain pledged to cut their budget deficits. BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP AU), the world’s largest mining company, climbed 1.8 percent to A$38.82. Rio Tinto Group (RIO AU) gained 1.9 percent to A$68.29.

Gold producers: Gold futures rose to a record for the second straight day in New York yesterday. Newcrest Mining Ltd. (NCM AU), Australia’s largest gold producer, gained 2.2 percent to A$33.35. Lihir Gold Ltd. (LGL AU) rose 1.7 percent to A$4.14.

Sigma Pharmaceuticals Ltd. (SIP AU) shares slumped 2.7 percent to 35.5 Australian cents after Chief Financial Officer Mark Smith resigned and the company named Mark Watson to act in the role until a replacement is appointed.

Telstra Corp. (TLS AU) rose 1.4 percent to A$3. Australia’s largest telephone company acquired a controlling interest in LMobile for less than A$100 million ($89 million), gaining a mobile-phone-advertising business in China.

Transurban Group (TCL AU) dropped 0.9 percent to A$4.85 after analysts at Macquarie Group Ltd., Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc and Southern Cross Equities Ltd. said two Canadian pension funds were unlikely to raise a spurned A$7.2 billion ($6.4 billion) bid and the Australian toll-road operator sold shares at a discount.

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

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