Australian, N.Z. Stocks: Elders, Mesoblast, News Corp., Qantas

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index was little changed at 4,605.50 at the 4:10 p.m. close of trading in Sydney. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index (NZSE50FG) was also little changed at 3,460.56 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.

Gold producers: Gold futures for August delivery rose 1.1 percent to settle at $1,529.20 an ounce at 1:43 p.m. on the Comex in New York yesterday. Newcrest Mining Ltd. (NCM) , Australia biggest gold producer, gained 0.9 percent to A$38.50. Medusa Mining Ltd. (MML) , a gold explorer in Western Australia and the Philippines, rose 5.3 percent to A$6.98

Elders Ltd. (ELD) surged 6.4 percent to 41.5 Australian cents. The seller of meat and other agricultural products said it started work on an application for live cattle exports to Indonesia after the announcement of revised export control orders by the Australian government. Elders said it anticipates it could start shipments to Indonesia from the first week of August. Australia’s largest rural-services supplier said it will take a month to resume sales to Indonesia after Australia yesterday lifted a ban imposed to prevent animal cruelty.

Mesoblast Ltd. (MSB) gained 1.4 percent to A$8.58 after saying it received clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to begin a clinical trial for bone marrow regeneration in patients with blood cancers.

News Corp. (NWSA) dropped 3.6 percent to A$16.55. Shares of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. (NWS) fell as political pressure grew in the U.K. over allegations that the News of the World tabloid newspaper hacked the phones of dead soldiers’ relatives. News International said late yesterday it will investigate allegations of hacking, while Ford Motor Co. is among companies withdrawing advertising from the newspaper.

Qantas Airways Ltd. (QAN) , Australia’s biggest carrier, climbed 0.5 percent to A$2 after regulators said they want to extend a flight ban on its smaller competitor, Tiger Airways Holdings Ltd., by about three weeks amid safety concerns. The head of Tiger’s Australian operations will step down, the Singapore-based carrier said yesterday. Virgin Blue Holdings Ltd. (VBA) , Australia’s second-largest airline, advanced 9.5 percent to 34.5 Australian cents.

Westfield Group (WDC) gained 1.3 percent to A$8.86 after the world’s biggest mall operator was raised to “overweight” from “neutral” at JPMorgan Chase & Co.

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

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

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