Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index advanced 0.6 percent to 4,971.20 at the 4:10 p.m. close of trading in Sydney. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index (NZSE50FG) gained 0.5 percent to 3,461.32 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 companies: A measure of metals traded in London climbed 2.1 percent on April 8, capping a fourth straight day of gains.
BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP) , the world’s No. 1 mining company, added 3.8 percent to A$49.55. Rio Tinto Group (RIO AU), the world’s second-largest mining company by sales, advanced 2.4 percent to A$88.30.
Oil and airline stocks: Crude rose above $112 in New York for the first time in 30 months last week amid skepticism Libyan output will rebound when fighting ends and as a weaker dollar increased demand for raw materials.
Woodside Petroleum Ltd. (WPL) , Australia’s second- biggest oil and gas producer, rose 1.9 percent to A$48.16 after the Sunday Times reported that BHP is in talks to buy Royal Dutch Shell Plc’s 24 percent stake in Woodside and make a full takeover offer.
Woodside pared a gain of as much as 7.6 percent after BHP doused speculation it plans to buy the stake and make a A$46 billion ($48.6 billion) takeover.
Airline stocks fell on concern profits will be hurt by higher fuel prices. Qantas Airways Ltd. (QAN) , Australia’s biggest airline, dropped 3.2 percent to A$2.12. Virgin Blue Holdings Ltd. (VBA) , the nation’s second-largest airline, fell 1.6 percent to 30 Australian cents.
Caltex Australia Ltd. (CTX) declined 2.2 percent to A$15. The country’s largest oil refiner had its stock rating cut to “neutral” from “buy” by analysts led Merrill Lynch.
Southern Cross Media Group Ltd. (SXL) , a broadcasting and publishing company, surged 6.5 percent to A$1.705 after announcing the completion of the institutional portion of a share offer.
Vector Ltd. (VCT) , New Zealand’s largest electricity distributor, sank 4.3 percent to NZ$2.46 after saying it was “astounded” by a change in the industry regulator’s approach to pricing that may add to “regulatory uncertainty.”
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