Australia, N.Z. Stocks: Bank of Queensland, BHP, Cochlear, Rio

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index declined 0.1 percent to 4,584.70 as at the 4:10 p.m. close of trading in Sydney. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index advanced 0.3 percent to 3,269.22 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 March delivery dropped 1.1 percent to $3.72 a pound at 10:10 a.m. in New York yesterday after fighting broke out among North and South Korea and concern grew that Europe’s debt crisis and China’s efforts to tame inflation will slow the global economic rebound.

BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP AU), the world’s largest mining company, slipped 0.4 percent to A$42.95. Rio Tinto Group (RIO AU), the world’s third-biggest miner, declined 1.3 percent to A$82.49.

Bank of Queensland Ltd. (BOQ AU) fell 1.1 percent to A$11.27. The regional Australian lender formed in 1874 had its stock rating cut to “hold” from “buy” by analysts at Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc.

Coca-Cola Amatil Ltd. (CCL AU) dropped 1.3 percent to A$11.44. Australia’s biggest soft-drink maker, will double annual spending in Indonesia to A$100 million ($97 million) by 2013 to tap rising incomes with new products.

Cochlear Ltd. (COH AU) gained 2.7 percent to A$76.87 after Sonova Holding AG said it was voluntarily recalling its HiRes 90K cochlear implant. The maker of the world’s best-selling hearing implant was also raised to “buy” from “neutral” at UBS AG.

Lynas Corp. (LYC AU) jumped 10 percent to A$1.53. Sojitz Corp., Japan’s biggest importer of rare-earth minerals, reached a deal with the Australian mining company, securing an additional source of supply after China slashed exports.

Newcrest Mining Ltd. (NCM AU), Australia’s largest gold producer, climbed 0.7 percent to A$39.67. Gold jumped the most in two weeks in New York yesterday on demand for a haven amid Europe’s sovereign-debt crisis and escalating tensions between North and South Korea.

Virgin Blue Holdings Ltd. (VBA AU) gained 2.3 percent to 44.5 Australian cents. Australia’s second-biggest airline said trading conditions are improving. The V Australia unit is on track for break-even or close to break- even by the end of the 2011 financial year, the company also said in speech notes for its annual meeting, filed with the Australian stock exchange.

New Zealand:

Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Corp. (FPH NZ) dropped 2.3 percent to NZ$2.95. The New Zealand maker of breathing masks and hospital equipment reported a 54 percent decline in first-half profit after the strong local currency moved against the company.

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

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Nick Gentle at ngentle2@bloomberg.net.

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