Avoca Resources, Cabcharge, Macarthur Coal: Australia, New Zealand Stocks

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index fell 0.5 percent to 4,254.60 at the close of trading in Sydney. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index advanced 0.3 percent to 2,961.74 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 futures for September climbed 1.9 percent to $2.971 a pound in New York yesterday.

BHP Billiton (BHP AU), the world’s largest mining company, rose 0.8 percent to A$37.43. Rio Tinto Group (RIO AU), the world’s third-largest mining company, climbed 1.1 percent to A$65.84.

Gold producers: Gold futures fell to a six-week low yesterday as rallies in global stock markets eroded demand for the precious metal as an alternative investment.

Newcrest Mining Ltd. (NCM AU), Australia’s biggest gold producer, slipped 2 percent to A$33.48. Eldorado Gold Corp. (EAU AU) sank 4.9 percent to A$18.94. Rival Avoca Resources Ltd. (AVO AU) lost 4.5 percent to A$2.56.

Beach Energy Ltd. (BPT AU) rose 2.2 percent to 68.5 Australian cents. The oil and gas producer’s stock rating was raised to “buy” from “neutral” at UBS AG.

Cabcharge Australia Ltd. (CAB AU) dropped 4.2 percent to A$4.83. The operator of Australia’s largest taxi payment system was downgraded to “hold” from “buy” at Deutsche Bank AG by equity analyst Tim Plumbe.

Macarthur Coal Ltd. (MCC AU) fell 1.6 percent to A$12.63. The world’s largest producer of pulverized coal was downgraded to “neutral” from “buy” at UBS AG by equity analyst Glyn Lawcock.

Sigma Pharmaceuticals Ltd. (SIP AU) surged 14 percent to 45 Australian cents. The nation’s biggest drugs distributor received a formal takeover proposal from Aspen Pharmacare Holdings Ltd., Africa’s largest drugmaker.

New Zealand:

Hellaby Holdings Ltd. (HBY NZ) gained 5.3 percent to NZ$1.60. The auto parts, packaging and footwear retailing investor said core bank debt fell 51 percent to NZ$25 million ($17.3 million) at June 30 from a year earlier.

Nuplex Industries Ltd. (NPX NZ) rose as much as 5.3 percent after a report in the Herald Sun newspaper said Nuplex was in talks with Orica Ltd. to sell its chemicals trading unit. It later pared gains, rising 0.7 percent to NZ$2.87, after Nuplex, a resin manufacturer, denied the report.

To contact the reporters for this story: Lisa Pham in Sydney at lpham14@bloomberg.net. Shani Raja in Sydney at sraja4@bloomberg.net.

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