Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index declined 0.8 percent to 4,740.70 at the 4:10 p.m. close of trading in Sydney. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index gained 0.2 percent to 3,321.77 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.
Gold producers: Gold topped $1,400 an ounce yesterday in New York, extending a rally to a record, on investor demand for an alternative to currencies.
Newcrest Mining Ltd. (NCM AU), Australia’s largest gold producer, climbed 1.8 percent to A$43.41. St. Barbara Ltd. (SBM AU) surged 6.4 percent to 50 Australian cents.
Adelaide Brighton Ltd. (ABC AU) plunged 11 percent to A$3.26. The Australian producer of construction materials was downgraded to “hold” from “buy” at Deutsche Bank AG.
AWE Ltd. (AWE AU), an Australian oil and gas explorer, jumped 15 percent to A$1.89. The company said in a statement that it has identified a “very large” potential gas resource close to one of Australia’s key domestic gas markets.
Equinox Minerals Ltd. (EQN AU), the owner of Africa’s largest copper mine, dropped 4.7 percent to A$6.05 after its largest shareholder, First Quantum Minerals Ltd., said it would sell its C$729 million ($726 million) stake.
OZ Minerals Ltd. (OZL AU) gained 2.9 percent to A$1.76 after the mining company cited an increase in tonnes of ‘gold- only’ type material at Prominent Hill.
Spotless Group Ltd. (SPT AU) fell 1.3 percent to A$2.30. The Australian property manager had its stock rating cut to “hold” from “buy” by analysts led by Paul Buys at Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc.
Stockland (SGP AU) climbed 2.8 percent to A$3.73. Australia’s biggest diversified property group had its stock rating raised to “buy” from “hold” by analysts at Goldman Sachs & Partners Australia Pty.
Ten Network Holdings Ltd. (TEN AU) rose 1.7 percent to A$1.47. The broadcaster said that James Packer and Lachlan Murdoch accepted an offer to join the board.
Woodside Petroleum Ltd. (WPL AU) sank 6.3 percent to A$42.99. Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Europe’s largest oil company, is selling a 10 percent stake in Woodside for $3.35 billion, freeing up funds to support a six-fold increase in its Australian natural gas production.
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