BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto, Sphere, Woodside: Australia, New Zealand Stocks

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 0.8 percent to 4,532.70 at the 4:10 p.m. close of trading in Sydney. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index advanced 0.2 percent to 3,082.48 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.

Mining shares: Copper for three-month delivery in London climbed as much as 0.5 percent today.

BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP AU), the world’s largest mining company, advanced 1.1 percent to A$38.32. Rio Tinto Group (RIO AU), the world’s third-biggest miner, gained 1.2 percent to A$73.12.

Rio Tinto said the expansion of production at its iron-ore mines in the Pilbara region of Australia is back on the company’s agenda.

Oil companies: Crude oil for October delivery rose 2.8 percent to settle at $73.91 a barrel yesterday on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the biggest gain since Aug. 2.

Caltex Australia Ltd. (CTX AU), the nation’s biggest oil refiner, rose 2.9 percent to A$11.34. Woodside Petroleum Ltd. (WPL AU), Australia’s second-largest oil and gas producer, increased 0.8 percent to A$43.23.

Woodside said it’s more certain the $30 billion Browse gas project in Western Australia will proceed after the state government started the forced acquisition of land for the venture.

Clough Ltd. (CLO AU) rose 1.2 percent to 83 Australian cents. The Australian engineering company said the Clough Curtain joint venture has received orders worth A$250 million ($227 million) associated with the PNG LNG Upstream Infrastructure contract.

Extract Resources Ltd. (EXT AU) rose 2 percent to A$6.23. The uranium explorer partly owned by Rio Tinto Group remains in talks with potential partners for its Rossing South uranium project in Namibia, Chief Executive Officer Jonathan Leslie said in Perth today.

Kangaroo Resources Ltd. (KRL AU) jumped 8 percent to 13.5 Australian cents. Essar Group, controlled by Indian billionaire brothers Shashi and Ravi Ruia, is one of the “interested parties” to bid for Kangaroo’s GPK thermal coal project in East Kalimantan province, Indonesia, the Perth-based company said by phone today.

Sphere Minerals Ltd. (SPH AU) rose 2.8 percent to A$2.57. China Minmetals Corp., the nation’s largest metals trader, may seek to top Xstrata Plc’s A$428 million agreed bid for iron-ore developer Sphere, the Australian Financial Review reported, citing market talk.

To contact the reporter for this story: Lisa Pham in Sydney at lpham14@bloomberg.net.

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