Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index declined 1.5 percent to 4,237.5 at the close of trading in Sydney, the lowest close since July 30, 2009.
New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index lost 1.3 percent to 2,933.82 in Wellington. The following were among the most active shares in the market today. Stock symbols are in parentheses after company names.
Mining shares: Mining companies declined after the Purchasing Managers’ Index, a gauge of Chinese manufacturing, fell more than economists estimated, leading metal prices lower.
Mining stocks pared declines after the Sydney Morning Herald reported a breakthrough in talks with the government on a planned mining profits tax. OZ Minerals Ltd. (OZL AU), a copper and gold producer, reversed losses of as much as 1.6 percent to close up 4.2 percent at A$1.
Billabong International Ltd. (BBG AU) lost 2.8 percent to A$8.50. The world’s biggest publicly traded surfwear maker said it has agreed to buy West 49 Inc., a Canadian retailer, for C$1.30 a share.
Biota Holdings Ltd. (BTA AU), which got more than half of revenue last year in royalties from GlaxoSmithKline Plc’s Relenza, plunged 5.9 percent to 96 Australian cents. The stock was cut to “hold” from “buy” at Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc.
Energy Resources of Australia Ltd. (ERA AU) climbed 1.1 percent to A$13.45. The uranium producer was raised to “outperform” from “neutral” at Credit Suisse Group AG.
Metcash Ltd. (MTS AU) surged 3.1 percent to A$4.32. Australia’s biggest grocery wholesaler agreed to buy the Franklins supermarket chain for A$215 million ($181 million), adding 85 stores in the state of New South Wales.
Ten Network Holdings Ltd. (TEN AU) advanced 0.3 percent to A$1.615. The Australian broadcaster was raised to “buy” from “neutral” at UBS AG.
Restaurant Brands NZ Ltd. (RBD NZ) gained 3.5 percent to NZ$2.38. The company, which operates the country’s KFC, Pizza Hut and Starbucks franchises, said the New Zealand economy is starting to gain traction and it remains on target to deliver profit before items of NZ$24 million ($16 million) to NZ$26 million.