Australian Stocks: BHP, News Corp., Rio Tinto, Samson Oil & Gas

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index (AS51) fell 0.4 percent to 4,056.6 at the 2:10 p.m. close of trading in Sydney, losing 14.5 percent over the year. Iluka Resources Ltd. (ILU) was the year’s biggest gainer, climbing 69.6 percent, while White Energy Co. (WEC) dropped the most, slumping 89 percent.

The New Zealand’s NZX 50 (NZSE50FG) Index rose 0.9 percent to 3,274.7 in Wellington, declining 1 percent in 2011. NZX Ltd. (NZX) rose 47.4 percent over the year, the biggest increase, while Goodman Fielder Ltd. (GFF) was the biggest loser, sliding 63.8 percent.

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

Mining stocks: BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP) , the world’s No. 1 mining company, slipped 0.2 to A$34.42. The shares fell 24 percent during the year. Rio Tinto Group (RIO) was unchanged at A$60.30, finishing the year down 29 percent.

News Corp. (NWSA) rose 1.6 percent to A$17.94 after the media group’s U.S.-listed stock was raised to “top pick” from “outperform” by RBC Capital Markets. The shares gained 11.9 percent this year.

Samson Oil & Gas Ltd. (SSN) slumped 8.6 percent to 9.6 Australian cents, after surging 47.7 percent this year. The energy explorer and producer reported pump valves may have been damaged at a project in Wyoming, the permeability of a reservoir at another may be too tight and sand needs to be removed at a third site, keeping the project from proceeding, according to a statement.

To contact the reporter on this story: Nichola Saminather in Sydney at nsaminather1@bloomberg.net

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

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