Iluka, Pacific Brands, Roc, Suncorp, Woolworths: Australian, N.Z. Stocks

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 0.5 percent to 4,339.40 as of 12:16 p.m. in Sydney. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index gained 0.8 percent to 3,031.39 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 fell to a four-week low in New York yesterday on unexpectedly weak reports on U.S. durable goods and housing.

BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP AU), the world’s largest mining company, declined 0.8 percent to A$37.13. Separately, BHP reported second-half profit doubled and that it reduced debt by 41 percent, boosting its finances before a possible battle for Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc.

Rio Tinto Group (RIO AU), the world’s third-largest miner, lost 0.4 percent to A$69.16. Rio is unlikely to make a takeover bid for Potash, UBS AG said after meeting with Rio Chief Executive Officer Tom Albanese.

Iluka Resources Ltd. (ILU AU) lost 0.8 percent to A$5.21. The world’s biggest zircon producer reported a first-half loss on higher costs and lower margins.

Pacific Brands Ltd. (PBG AU) fell 2 percent to 97.5 Australian cents. Australia’s largest maker of underwear was downgraded to “neutral” from “overweight” at JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Suncorp-Metway Ltd. (SUN AU) gained 2.1 percent to A$8.14. The Australian insurer and lender was raised to “buy” from “hold” at Goldman Sachs & Partners Australia Pty.

Ten Network Holdings Ltd. (TEN AU), Australia’s third- ranked commercial television broadcaster, fell 7.1 percent to A$1.445 after announcing plans for a new digital television channel known as “Eleven” to target younger viewers.

“‘The channel strategy is youth oriented, much like Channel 10, which lacks imagination in our view, and risks cannibalizing the existing audience on 10,” Justin Diddams, an analyst at Citigroup Inc. in Sydney, said in note to clients.

Toll Holdings Ltd. (TOL AU) gained 2.7 percent to A$5.99 after Australia’s largest trucking and freight company reported full-year profit of A$279 million ($247 million).

Virgin Blue Holdings Ltd. (VBA AU) surged 3.6 percent to 29 Australian cents after the airline swung to a full-year profit and signed a pact with Etihad.

Woolworths Ltd. (WOW AU) rose 4.7 percent to A$28.17 after the retailer said it would buy back stock and reported an increase in profit.

New Zealand:

Air New Zealand Ltd. (AIR NZ) gained 5 percent to NZ$1.27. The nation’s biggest airline said full-year profit rose as the company reduced costs in response to declining demand from tourists and business travelers.

Nuplex Industries Ltd. (NPX NZ) advanced 6.8 percent to NZ$3.15. The New Zealand-based resin manufacturer said full-year operating profit surged 52 percent, exceeding a June 9 forecast.

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

Bloomberg reserves the right to remove comments but is under no obligation to do so, or to explain individual moderation decisions.

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.