Australian, N.Z. Stocks: Westpac, Aston, Imdex, Macquarie Group

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 1.4 percent to 4,288.00 at the close in Sydney. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index gained 0.2 percent to 3,282.39 in Wellington.

The following were among the most active shares in the market today. Stock symbols are in parentheses after company names.

Westpac Banking Corp. (WBC) rose 2.1 percent to A$21.57. Standard & Poor’s reduced the credit ratings of Australia’s four biggest banks to AA- from AA, as it applied revised criteria to Asia-Pacific financial institutions. Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. (ANZ) rose 1.9 percent to A$20.88. National Australia Bank Ltd. (NAB) climbed 1.6 percent to A$24.55. Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) rose 2 percent to A$49.55.

Intrepid Mines Ltd. (IAU) surged 15 percent to A$1.235. The company said Nov. 30 it appointed Indonesian national Adrianto Machribie to its board. Intrepid Mines has been working to clarify the ownership structure of its Indonesian gold asset and the appointment of a director based in the country gives the market confidence that a finalization of ownership is close, Jamie Spiteri, head dealer at Shaw Stockbroking Ltd. in Sydney, said by phone.

Transpacific Industries Group Ltd. (TPI) jumped 6.5 percent to 82.5 cents. The waste management solutions group was rated “outperform” by Macquarie Group (MQG) Ltd. with a price target of 90 cents.

Aston Resources Ltd. (AZT) rose 4.1 percent to A$9.11. The coal company was raised to “outperform” from “sector perform” at RBC Capital Markets with a 12-month target price of A$11.00 per share.

Gunns Ltd. (GNS) dropped 3 percent to 16 Australian cents. Brickworks Ltd. will acquire Gunn’s sawmill and processing plant, according to a regulatory filing.

Macquarie Group (MQG AU) rose 0.1 percent to A$24.37. Australia’s biggest investment bank was cut to BBB from A- by S&P. It plans to submit a joint bid for Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc’s aviation leasing unit, Dow Jones reported.

Rio Tinto (RIO) rose 0.6 percent to A$66.32. The world’s third-biggest mining company plans to invest a further $2.7 billion in an upgrade of its Canadian aluminum smelter.

Imdex Ltd. (IMD) rose 4.4 percent to A$2.02. The supplier of mining and drilling equipment will be added to the S&P/ASX 200 Index (AS51) after market close on Dec. 16, along with Integra Mining Ltd. (IGR AU), Ramelius Resources Ltd. (RMS AU), and Silver Lake Resources Ltd. (SLR AU). They will replace Chorus Ltd. (CNU AU), Gunns, Murchison Metals Ltd. (MMX AU)) and OM Holdings Ltd. (OMH AU).

To contact the reporter on this story: Sarah McDonald in Sydney at smcdonald23@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Shelley Smith at ssmith118@bloomberg.net.

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