Australian Stocks: ANZ, BHP, DUET, Foster's, Karoon Gas, Qantas, Rio, Toll

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 1.3 percent to 4,381.20 at the close of trading in Sydney. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index fell 1.4 percent to 2,988.98 in Wellington.

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

Gold producers: Gold futures for August delivery jumped 1.9 percent in New York yesterday, the most in a month, on demand for an alternative to the euro.

Newcrest Mining Ltd. (NCM AU), Australia’s largest gold producer, gained 2.9 percent to A$33.19. Lihir Gold Ltd. (LGL AU) increased 1.8 percent to A$4.07.

Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. (ANZ AU) advanced 1.3 percent to A$22.31. The bank reaffirmed its target of 20 percent of profit from Asia by 2012.

BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP AU) gained 1.3 percent to A$37.02. The world’s largest mining company said yesterday its Jansen potash project in Saskatchewan, Canada, has 3.37 billion metric tons of material containing the mineral used for fertilizing crops. Rio Tinto Group (RIO AU) rose 1.8 percent to A$66.75. The two mining companies have notified Japanese steelmakers that iron-ore prices will increase 23 percent for the July-September quarter, Nikkei English News reported, without saying where it obtained the information.

DUET Group (DUE AU) advanced 2.5 percent to A$1.65. The energy asset investment company backed by AMP Capital may get A$360 million from the sale of a 29 percent stake in U.S. power business Duquesne Light, and may be interested in buying assets from the former Babcock & Brown Infrastructure business, the Australian Financial Review said, citing Chief Executive Officer Peter Barry.

Foster’s Group Ltd. (FGL AU) rose 1.4 percent to A$5.63. The Australian beer maker may receive a bid from China’s Bright Food Group Co. for its A$3.3 billion wine business, the Australian Financial Review said.

Healthscope Ltd. (HSP AU) lost 0.9 percent to A$5.44. Tenet Healthcare Corp. said it withdrew its preliminary bid for Australia’s second-largest hospital operator after the proposal was criticized by investors.

Karoon Gas Australia Ltd. (KAR AU) gained 1.7 percent to A$7.34. ConocoPhillips’ partner in an exploration venture off the northwest coast said it is considering listing its South American exploration assets on Brazil’s stock exchange.

Qantas Airways Ltd. (QAN AU) rose 2 percent to A$2.51. Australia’s biggest airline is keen to play a leading role in the consolidation of carriers from different parts of the world after it pulled out of a merger with British Airways Plc in 2008, Chief Executive Officer Alan Joyce said in Berlin.

Toll Holdings Ltd. (TOL AU) declined 0.2 percent to A$5.69. The largest Asia-Pacific logistics company’s share forecast was cut to A$8.18 from A$8.31 by Macquarie Group Ltd. while maintaining an ”outperform” rating on the stock. Credit Suisse Group AG reduced its share forecast to A$6.60 from A$7.75, and UBS AG cut its forecast to A$6.20 from A$7.90 while maintaining their ”neutral” ratings.

New Zealand:

Michael Hill International Ltd. (MHI NZ), New Zealand’s biggest specialty jeweler, fell 5.7 percent to 66 New Zealand cents after the company said it will close eight of its 17 stores in the U.S. to reduce losses.

To contact the reporters for this story: Kana Nishizawa in Tokyo at knishizawa5@bloomberg.net; Nichola Saminather in Sydney at Nsaminather1@bloomberg.net.

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