Australian, N.Z. Stocks: AMP, BHP Billiton, Extract, Telstra

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index fell 1.8 percent to 4,203.0 at the close of trading in Sydney. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index gained 0.05 percent to 3,271.46 in Wellington.

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

Alkane Resources Ltd. (ALK) rose 0.9 percent to A$1.09 after the metals explorer was rated “hold” in new coverage at Goldman Sachs Australia Pty. The price forecast is A$1.30 per share, analysts led by Ian Preston said in a report.

AMP Ltd. (AMP) fell 0.5 percent to A$4.30. Australia’s largest life insurer agreed to sell a 15 percent stake in its asset management business to Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc.’s trust bank unit. Mitsubishi UFJ will sell the Australian company’s products in Japan, the world’s second-biggest savings market.

BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP) , Australia’s biggest oil and gas producer, fell 3.1 percent to A$35.86 after Deutsche Bank AG cut its 2012 oil output and gas price estimates. Expected oil production this financial year will be 143 million barrels of oil equivalent, 3 million barrels less than earlier expected, the bank said in a report

Extract Resources Ltd. (EXT) jumped 4.7 percent to A$8.47, the biggest gainer in the benchmark index. The owner of the world’s fourth-largest uranium deposit is weighing a A$2.2 billion ($2.2 billion) takeover bid from China. Australian regulators have ruled state-owned China Guangdong Nuclear Power Group Co. must offer A$8.65 a share for Extract should the mainland company’s 632 million pound ($988 million) bid for Kalahari Minerals Plc (KAH) succeed because of the target’s 43 percent stake in Extract.

Iluka Resources Ltd. (ILU) rose 1 percent to A$16.85 after the world’s biggest zircon maker was raised to “buy” from “hold” at Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc, which cited higher production prices.

Mount Gibson Iron Ltd. (MGX) fell 1.2 percent to A$1.255. The iron-ore explorer said Luke Tonkin had resigned as chief executive officer with Jim Beyer to step in as it seeks a permanent replacement.

Qantas Airways Ltd. (QAN) fell 1.9 percent to A$1.59. Jetstar, the carrier’s budget arm, said it would welcome Vietnam Airlines as a partner for its venture in the country. Qantas owns 27 percent of the venture, and the majority 73 percent stake may be transferred to Vietnam Air from Vietnamese State Capital Investment Corp., according to reports in the country. Both Vietnamese companies are state-owned.

Telstra Corp. (TLS) fell 1.2 percent to A$3.23 after Australia’s biggest phone company submitted a revised proposal with regulators for shifting its fixed-line assets to the government’s National Broadband Network in exchange for about A$11 billion. A final ruling on the split is expected in February, the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission said in a statement.

Ten Network Holdings Ltd. (TEN) fell 1.6 percent to 90.5 Australian cents. The nation’s third-ranked commercial television broadcaster said in a filing today that costs in the 2012 financial year won’t exceed those of 2011 as the company adjusts to “difficult trading conditions.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Robert Fenner in Melbourne at rfenner@bloomberg.net

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

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