AWE, Pacific Brands, Rio, Seek, Suncorp, Skellerup: Australia, N.Z. Stocks

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index declined 1.4 percent to 4,320.10 at the 4:10 p.m. close of trading in Sydney. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index lost 0.6 percent to 3,006.05 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 December delivery fell 1.5 percent to close at $3.262 a pound at 1:15 p.m. in New York yesterday, the biggest percentage loss for a most-active contract since Aug. 11.

BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP AU), the world’s largest mining company, declined 0.3 percent to A$37.44. Rio Tinto Group (RIO AU), the world’s third-largest miner, lost 2.3 percent to A$69.45.

Oil companies: Crude for October delivery fell 2 percent to settle at $71.63 a barrel in New York Mercantile Exchange yesterday, the lowest level since June 7.

Woodside Petroleum Ltd. (WPL AU), Australia’s second- largest oil and gas producer, dropped 2 percent to A$42.27. Santos Ltd. (STO AU) declined 1.4 percent to A$13.84.

AWE Ltd. (AWE AU) rose 4.7 percent to A$1.575. The oil and gas explorer was raised to “neutral” from “underweight” at JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Macarthur Coal Ltd. (MCC AU) plunged 9 percent to A$11.25 after the coal producer completed a share placement.

MAP Group (MAP AU), an operator of airports in Australia and Europe gained 3.9 percent to A$2.97 after reporting first- half net profit of A$19.7 million.

Murchison Metals Ltd. (MMX AU) lost 8 percent to A$1.435. The Australian iron-ore company said its second-largest shareholder, Harbinger Capital Partners LLC, sold most of its holding in the Perth-based company.

Pacific Brands Ltd. (PBG AU) jumped 12 percent to 99.5 Australian cents after Australia’s largest maker of underwear reported full-year net profit.

Seek Ltd. (SEK AU) fell 3.9 percent to A$7.10. The Internet job-advertisement site had its stock rating cut to “hold” from “buy” by analysts led by Justin Diddams at Citigroup Inc.

Sonic Healthcare Ltd. (SHL AU) advanced 1.9 percent to A$11. Australia’s biggest provider of medical tests was raised to “neutral” from “underperform” at Credit Suisse Group AG.

St. Barbara Ltd. (SBM AU), a gold producer, rose 6.7 percent to 32 Australian cents after being raised to “accumulate” from “hold” at E.L. & C. Baillieu Stockbroking Ltd.

Suncorp-Metway Ltd. (SUN AU) surged 2.4 percent to A$7.97. The Australian insurer and lender said second-half profit surged after Chief Executive Officer Patrick Snowball sold assets in a restructuring and swelled banking and investment income.

WorleyParsons Ltd. (WOR AU) slumped 9.2 percent to A$20.20 after Australia’s biggest engineering company said full-year profit fell 26 percent after project delays and a stronger currency cut its revenue.

New Zealand:

Michael Hill International Ltd. (MHI NZ) rose 4.6 percent to 68 Australian cents. The New Zealand-based jewelry retailer said the family of chairman and founder Michael Hill wants to increase its combined stake in the company to 50.1 percent from 48 percent.

Skellerup Holdings Ltd. (SKL NZ) jumped 9.6 percent to 80 Australian cents after the New Zealand manufacturer of rubber products used in the dairy industry said full-year profit surged 30 percent.

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

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