Australia, N.Z. Stocks: Cochlear, Equinox, Leighton, Macarthur, Transurban

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index was little changed at 4,470.70 at the close of trading in Sydney. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index fell 0.6 percent to 3,151.68 in Wellington.

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

Australia:

Cochlear Ltd. (COH AU) fell 1.5 percent to A$75.75. The maker of the world’s best-selling hearing implant had its rating cut to “underweight” from “equal-weight” by analysts at Morgan Stanley led by Sean Laaman.

Equinox Minerals Ltd. (EQN AU), which owns Africa’s biggest copper mine, plunged 5.4 percent to A$3.70 after copper prices slumped the most in 15 months in New York yesterday.

Iluka Resources Ltd. (ILU AU) gained 3 percent to A$4.51. The world’s biggest zircon producer said it expects demand from China to be between 450,000 and 500,000 tons in 2010.

Macarthur Coal Ltd. (MCC AU) tumbled 16 percent to A$11.25. The world’s largest pulverized coal producer rejected Peabody Energy Corp.’s revised A$3.8 billion ($3.3 billion) cash bid, saying it was too low.

Leighton Holdings Ltd. (LEI AU) gained 3.9 percent to A$33.40. The company rebuffed a merger proposal from controlling shareholder Hochtief AG two months ago, the Sydney Morning Herald reported, without citing anyone.

Transurban Group (TCL AU) slumped 5.6 percent to A$4.42. Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan sold its stake in Transurban Group after the Australian toll-road operator rejected a A$7.2 billion ($6.3 billion) bid from the Canadian fund and other investors, two people familiar with the sale said.

New Zealand:

Warehouse Group Ltd. (WHS NZ) slipped 2.2 percent to NZ$3.49. New Zealand’s biggest discount retailer said third- quarter sales fell 1.9 percent as entertainment spending slowed and warm weather reduced demand for winter heating and clothing.

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

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