Australia, N.Z. Stocks: AGL, Arrow, BHP, Boom, iSOFT, Leighton, Woodside

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index gained 2.4 percent, the most since May 10, to 4,486 at the close of trading in Sydney. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index advanced 0.2 percent to 3,024.10 in Wellington.

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

Australia:

Mining shares: Copper climbed for the first time in four days, pacing gains in industrial metals.

Separately, Australian exports excluding farm goods surged by the most in almost three decades in April as shipments of iron ore and coal to China pushed the trade balance to a surplus for the first time in 12 months.

BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP AU), the world’s largest mining company, gained 2.4 percent to A$38.74. Rio Tinto Group (RIO AU) rose 3.4 percent to A$69.05.

Mount Gibson Iron Ltd. (MGX AU), an iron-ore producer, surged 8.1 percent to A$1.605. Centennial Coal Co. (CEY AU), an Australian producer of coal used in steelmaking, climbed 6.1 percent to A$4.33.

Oil companies: Oil gained for a second day in New York after U.S. home sales rose and an industry-funded report showed a decline in the country’s crude inventories.

Woodside Petroleum Ltd. (WPL AU), Australia’s second- largest oil and gas producer, advanced 1.8 percent to A$44.20. Rival Santos Ltd. (STO AU) rose 3.6 percent to A$12.70.

AGL Energy Ltd. (AGK AU) gained 1.9 percent to A$14.33. Australia’s largest electricity retailer raised its underlying profit forecast for fiscal 2010 to between A$420 million and A$430 million compared with previous guidance of between A$390 million and A$420 million.

Arrow Energy Ltd. (AOE AU) advanced 1 percent to A$4.90. The oil and gas explorer said an independent expert says the takeover offer from Royal Dutch Shell Plc and PetroChina Co. Ltd. is fair and reasonable.

Boom Logistics Ltd. (BOL AU) soared 35 percent to 40.5 Australian cents after confirming a takeover approach from Archer Capital valuing it at A$0.52 a share.

Computershare Ltd. (CPU AU) climbed 3.8 percent to A$11.20. The world’s biggest share registrar got $600 million in three- and four-year loans to refinance debt, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Insurance Australia Group (IAG AU) rose 0.6 percent to A$3.41. The insurance company’s stock rating was raised to “neutral” by analysts at Macquarie Group Ltd.

iSOFT Group Ltd. (ISF AU) slumped 7.7 percent to 36 Australian cents. The health information software developer was downgraded to “sell” from “hold” at Deutsche Bank AG.

Leighton Holdings Ltd. (LEI AU) rose 3.2 percent to A$32.39. Australia’s biggest construction company said a unit won a six- year mining contract in Mongolia.

QBE Insurance Group Ltd. (QBE AU) advanced 2.4 percent to A$19.07. Australia’s biggest insurer by market value said it has “significant” protections in place for claims related to the oil-rig disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

Roc Oil Co. (ROC AU) gained 10 percent to 37 Australian cents. The energy explorer with assets in Australia was raised to “buy” from “hold” at BBY Limited.

Virgin Blue Holdings Ltd. (VBA AU) climbed 7 percent to 30.5 Australian cents. The airline may cut its Fiji and Phuket routes, reduce the number of brands it flies to one from three, and focus more on business travel and its loyalty program under new Chief Executive Officer John Borghetti, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

New Zealand:

NZX Ltd. (NZX NZ) dropped 1.9 percent to NZ$1.58. The operator of New Zealand’s stock exchange said it’s reviewing a plan to offer electricity derivatives after the country’s major generators formed a trading venture with its Australian rival.

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

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