Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 0.3 percent to 4,370.10 at the 4:10 p.m. close in Sydney. The Australian gauge dropped 1.4 percent this week. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index fell 0.4 percent to 3,007.44 at the 5 p.m. close in Wellington. The index gained 0.2 percent this week.
The following were among the most active shares in the market today. Stock symbols are in parentheses after company names.
Oil companies: Crude oil for October delivery dropped as much as 0.7 percent to $72.87 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP AU), Australia’s largest oil producer, declined 0.2 percent to A$37.30. Woodside Petroleum Ltd. (WPL AU), the nation’s second-biggest oil and gas producer, retreated 0.9 percent to A$42.10.
Fairfax Media Ltd. (FXJ AU) surged 4.4 percent to A$1.42 after the newspaper publisher reported full-year profit.
Harvey Norman Holdings Ltd. (HVN AU) dropped 0.3 percent to A$3.53. Australia’s largest furniture and electrical retailer reported a 37 percent drop in profit after the effects of a government stimulus package waned, curbing demand for household goods.
ING Industrial Fund (IIF AU), a real-estate investment trust, rose 4.5 percent to 46.5 Australian cents after the company agreed to divest an asset in Canada.
Insurance Australia Group Ltd. (IAG AU) increased 2.4 percent to A$3.40. The Sydney-based insurer had its stock rating raised to “outperform” at Macquarie Group Ltd.
Intoll Group (ITO AU) gained 1.4 percent to A$1.475 after Canada Pension Plan Investment Board agreed to buy the Australian toll-road operator for A$3.44 billion ($3 billion). Canada’s second-biggest public pension manager offered A$1.52 cash for each Intoll share.
Ramsay Health Care Ltd. (RHC AU) advanced 4.3 percent to A$14.22. Australia’s biggest private hospital operator was raised to “outperform” from “neutral” at Credit Suisse, to “buy” from “hold” at Deutsche Bank AG, to “buy” from “neutral” at UBS AG, and to “overweight” from “neutral” at JPMorgan Chase & Co.
Sims Metal Management Ltd. (SGM AU) climbed 5.3 percent to A$16.36. The world’s biggest recycler of scrap metal reported a return to full-year profit.
Ten Network Holdings Ltd. (TEN AU) plunged 6.4 percent to A$1.38. Australia’s third-ranked commercial television broadcaster was downgraded to “neutral” from “buy” at UBS, and cut to “neutral” at Macquarie.
Transfield Services Ltd. (TSE AU) gained 3.9 percent to A$3.18. The Australian company that provides maintenance services to mining and infrastructure companies was raised to “outperform” at Credit Suisse and Macquarie.
New Zealand Farming Systems Uruguay Ltd. (NZS NZ) dropped 4.2 percent to 69 New Zealand cents. Union Agriculture Group has withdrawn its bid for New Zealand Farming Systems after it decided against matching an increased offer from Olam International Ltd., according to a regulatory filing.
Vector Ltd. (VCT NZ) climbed 1.9 percent to NZ$2.12. New Zealand’s largest electricity distributor said full-year profit rose 17 percent as revenue increased and funding costs fell. Separately, Chief Executive Officer Simon Mackenzie said Vector is the “ideal partner” for the government as it seeks bids to build a fiber optic network to deliver broadband in Auckland.