Australian, N.Z. Stocks: BHP, Eastern Star, Murchison, Pumpkin

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index fell 0.3 percent to 4,598.10 at the 4:10 p.m. close of trading in Sydney. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index (NZSE50FG) slipped 0.1 percent to 3,473.59 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 primary metals traded in London gained 0.3 percent yesterday. Copper rose for a fifth day, while zinc climbed 1.4 percent and nickel advanced 0.8 percent.

BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP) , the world’s No. 1 mining company, rose 0.5 percent to A$44.23. Rio Tinto Group (RIO AU), the second-largest mining company by sales, added 0.2 percent to A$83.32.

Eastern Star Gas Ltd. (ESG) surged 6.6 percent to 64.5 Australian cents after the natural gas explorer was rated new “overweight” at JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Murchison Metals Ltd. (MMX) slumped by a record 23 percent to 57.5 Australian cents. The iron-ore producer was cut to “sell” from “hold” at Citigroup Inc., which cited increased operating costs around core projects, and said there was “considerable risk” around its ability to secure key customers.

OM Holdings Ltd. (OMH) surged 14 percent to A$1.02, the biggest gain since November 2008, The company said its sales performance in the second quarter has been “exceptionally strong,” and that it’s reviewing a proposal to demerge the company’s mining operations from its smelting, marketing and trading businesses.

New Zealand:

Pumpkin Patch Ltd. (PPL NZ), a New Zealand retailer, gained 0.9 percent to NZ$1.14 after business confidence in the nation rose in the second quarter. Warehouse Group Ltd. (WHS) , the country’s largest discount retailer, rose 1.1 percent to NZ$3.57.

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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