Australia, New Zealand Stocks: BHP, Biota, Downer, Qantas Airways, Vector

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index lost 0.9 percent to 4,374.70 at the 4:10 p.m. close of trading in Sydney. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index retreated 0.7 percent to 2,981.36 at the 5 p.m. close 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 delivery rose the most in five weeks, increasing 3 percent to $3.093 a pound in New York yesterday.

BHP Billiton (BHP AU), the world’s largest mining company, advanced 0.3 percent to A$38.88. BHP could spend $10 billion to $15 billion on a share buyback or a special dividend as higher prices for iron ore and coal boost profit, MF Global analysts said. Rio Tinto Group (RIO AU), the third largest mining company, increased 0.6 percent to A$68.23.

Biota Holdings Ltd. (BTA AU) rose 4.4 percent to 95 Australian cents, erasing earlier losses. The company, which got more than half of sales last year in fees from GlaxoSmithKline Plc’s Relenza, reported June quarter royalties for the treatment.

Downer EDI Ltd. (DOW AU) climbed 1.2 percent to A$4.37. The Australian engineering company may seek to raise as much as A$400 million to restore its credit rating when it releases earnings next month, the Australian Financial Review reported in its Street Talk column, citing an analyst at JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Qantas Airways Ltd. (QAN AU) lost 1.7 percent to A$2.36. Australia’s biggest airline will buy seven new Q400 NextGen aircraft from Bombardier Aerospace valued at approximately $218 million based on the list price, the carrier said in an e-mailed statement.

New Zealand:

Vector Ltd. (VCT NZ) declined 2.8 percent to NZ$2.05 after its rating was cut to “underperform” from “neutral” by analysts at Credit Suisse Group AG led by Jason Lindsay.

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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