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Australian, New Zealand Stocks: BHP, Rio, Centennial, CSR, Elders, Santos

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index dropped 0.4 percent to 4,222.10 at the close of trading in Sydney. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index rose 0.3 percent to 2,947.34 in Wellington.

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

Australia:

Centennial Coal Co. Ltd. (CEY AU) jumped 32 percent to A$5.83. Banpu Pcl, Thailand’s biggest coal producer, agreed to pay A$2 billion ($1.7 billion) for the rest of Centennial as demand climbs in China.

CSR Ltd. (CSR AU) surged 3.5 percent to A$1.76. Wilmar International Ltd., the world’s largest palm-oil trader, agreed to buy CSR’s Sucrogen sugar unit for A$1.75 billion, countering an offer from China’s Bright Food Group Co.

Elders Ltd. (ELD AU) jumped 11 percent to 42 Australian cents. The world’s largest wool broker said growing conditions across Australia are “robust” and the company’s horticulture unit is doing well.

Santos Ltd. (STO AU), Australia’s third-largest oil and gas producer, climbed 1.5 percent to A$12.40. Santos may consider selling some of its offshore Western Australian assets for as much as A$1 billion, the Australian Financial Review reported in its Street Talk column, without saying where it got the information.

Sigma Phamaceuticals Ltd. (SIP AU) fell 2.5 percent to 39.5 Australian cents. The company, the subject of a A$707 million takeover offer from Aspen Pharmacare Holdings Ltd., dropped on speculation the deal won’t succeed.

“Expectations of Aspen formalizing a bid at A$0.60 are low,” David Arter, a health-care analyst at Wilson HTM Investment Group in Brisbane, said in an e-mail.

Whitehaven Coal Ltd. (WHC AU) climbed 5.1 percent to A$4.75. The company was rated “buy” in new coverage at Mainfirst Securities Hong Kong Ltd. by equity analyst William Stephens.

New Zealand:

NZX Ltd. (NZX NZ) rose 6.9 percent to NZ$1.56. The operator of New Zealand’s stock exchange said it will buy back as many as 3.57 million shares because the current stock price doesn’t reflect a reasonable valuation of the company.

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

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