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Australian, NZ Stocks: AMP, Austar, Qantas, Santos, Vector Climb

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index gained 0.2 percent to 4,937.60 at 11:06 a.m. in Sydney. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index gained 0.2 percent to 3,390.26 in Wellington.

The following are among the most active shares in the market so far today. Stock symbols are in parentheses.

Bank stocks: Australia’s four biggest banks were little changed in Sydney trading even as Moody’s Investors Service late yesterday warned that the lenders and their New Zealand units may have their ratings cut. The agency cited concern relating to the banks’ access to overseas markets for funding, which will be “significantly restrained.”

Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. (ANZ AU) fell 0.1 percent to A$25.74, National Australia Bank Ltd. (NAB AU) was little-changed at A$26.32, Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA AU) was little-changed at $53.90 and Westpac Banking Corp. (WBC AU) slid 0.1 percent to A$24.31.

All four banks currently hold Moody’s second-highest Aa1 rating and are likely to remain in the Aa category after the review.

Bank of Queensland Ltd. (BOQ AU) climbed 1.2 percent to A$10.18 after Credit Suisse Group AG raised its recommendation for the Australian regional lender to “outperform” from “neutral.”

AMP Ltd. (AMP AU) increased 0.9 percent to A$5.50 even as Australia’s second-largest asset manager reported second-half profit of A$350 million ($351.5 million), down 7 percent as earnings at its wealth management unit declined. AMP was expected to report earnings of A$349 million, according to the average of four analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg News.

Austar United Communications Ltd. (AUN AU) rallied 4.2 percent to 99 Australian cents after the pay-television company sold A$120 million worth of spectrum to Australia’s NBN Co. for rural and regional areas.

Australand Property Group (ALZ AU) rallied 2.3 percent to A$3.13 after UBS AG raised its recommendation for the land and housing development company to “neutral” from “sell.”

Qantas Airways Ltd. (QAN AU) jumped 4.6 percent to A$2.50 after Australia’s biggest airline posted net profit that more than quadrupled in the first half to A$241 million. Sales climbed 9.9 percent, boosted by a 9.1 percent increase in group passenger numbers. The demand pickup helped the carrier to withstand a 23-day grounding of its A380 fleet and A$55 million in costs following a mid-air engine blowout.

Santos Ltd. (STO AU) gained 1.2 percent to A$13.97 after the oil and gas producer reported a 15 percent increase in full- year net income to A$500 million on higher commodity prices. Analysts had forecast annual profit of A$535 million.

The Reject Shop Ltd. (TRS AU) declined 1.2 percent to A$12.93 after Goldman Sachs & Partners Australia Pty. lowered its recommendation for the retailer to “hold” from “buy.”

New Zealand:

Vector Ltd. (VCT NZ) increased 2 percent to NZ$2.55 in Wellington trading. The company has been selected by the New Zealand government for prioritized talks to deliver an ultra- fast broadband service in Auckland, putting it in competition with Telecom Corp. (TEL NZ). Telecom’s shares dropped 0.9 percent to NZ$2.21.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sarah Jones in Sydney at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Nick Gentle at

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