Australian, N.Z. Stocks: BHP, Echo, Foster’s, Santos, Woodside

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index gained 1.3 percent to 4,508.20 at the 4:10 p.m. close of trading in Sydney, paring losses that yesterday saw it enter what some investors call a correction, having lost more than 10 percent between its high this year on April 11 and yesterday. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index (NZSE50FG) slipped 0.2 percent to 3,459.56 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.

Oil stocks: Crude oil for July delivery increased 0.3 percent in New York yesterday, and rose as much as 0.9 percent today. Oil rose as concern eased that Greece will default on its debt after Luxembourg’s Jean-Claude Juncker, who leads the group of euro-area finance ministers, said a solution to the crisis will be found.

BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP) , the world’s No. 1 mining company and the nation’s biggest oil producer, climbed 1.6 percent to A$42. Woodside Petroleum Ltd. (WPL) , Australia’s second-largest oil and gas producer, gained 2.5 percent to A$40.90.

Charter Hall Group (CHC) surged 4.4 percent to A$2.14. The Australian real-estate investment trust was raised to “buy” from “hold” at Deutsche Bank AG. Separately, Charter Hall is open to acquiring up to 20 percent of Charter Hall Office REIT, which it manages, and has enough cash to buy out investors wishing to sell their holdings, joint managing director David Southon said in a telephone interview.

Echo Entertainment Group Ltd. (EGP AU) advanced 1.3 percent to A$4.03. The casino owner was rated “hold” in new coverage by analysts at Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc.

Foster’s Group Ltd. (FGL) jumped 13 percent to A$5.14. Australia’s biggest brewer rejected a A$9.5 billion ($10 billion) cash offer from SABMiller Plc as too low in what would be the biggest takeover in the industry since 2008.

Incitec Pivot Ltd. (IPL) gained 2.2 percent to A$3.76. Australia’s largest fertilizer maker is continuing to participate in the formal sales process for Burrup Fertilisers Pty, the Australian Financial Review reported, citing Managing Director James Fazzino. Burrup is not a “must-have asset” and Incitec “will continue to be financially disciplined,” the newspaper cited Fazzino as saying.

Santos Ltd. (STO) rose 2.4 percent to A$13.46. Australia’s third-largest oil and gas producer, was raised to “buy” from “hold” by analysts at Citigroup Inc.

New Zealand:

Contact Energy Ltd. (CEN) dropped 3.1 percent to NZ$5.57. New Zealand’s biggest publicly traded energy company said earnings forecasts may not reflect recent “challenging” conditions.

To contact the reporter on this story: Shani Raja in Sydney at

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

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