Australian Equities: BHP, National Australia, Suncorp, Qantas

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index (AS51) fell 0.8 percent to 4,108.50 at the close of trade in Sydney today. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index dropped 0.9 percent to 3,253.43 in Wellington.

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

BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP) fell 1.6 percent to A$35.24. The world’s biggest mining company slipped after the London Metal Exchange Index of six commodities including copper and aluminum dropped 0.5 percent yesterday, the second day of declines. Rio Tinto Group (RIO) lost 0.5 percent to A$62.52.

National Australia Bank Ltd. (NAB) slipped 1.4 percent to A$23.40. The lender is said to have priced 1 billion euros ($1.3 billion) of five-year covered bonds, according to a banker involved in the deal.

Suncorp Group Ltd. (SUN) slumped 3.2 percent to A$8.42. The Australian insurer said fiscal first-half costs for natural disasters may be as much as 75 percent higher than forecast after a Christmas hailstorm in Melbourne and an earthquake in New Zealand.

Perseus Mining Ltd. (PRU) gained 0.4 percent to A$2.56. The Australian mining company with operations in Ghana and the Ivory Coast rose after gold futures advanced for a fourth day in New York yesterday, the longest rally since late October. Medusa Mining Ltd. (MML) increased 2.3 percent to A$4.86.

Qantas Airways Ltd. (QAN) fell 3.9 percent to A$1.465. Australia’s largest airline said small cracks found in the wings of an Airbus (EAD) A380 were being repaired in Singapore and didn’t pose a risk to flight safety.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jacob Greber in Sydney at jgreber@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chitra Somayaji at csomayaji@bloomberg.net

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