Australian, N.Z. Equities: BHP, Fortescue, Linc, Lynas

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 0.1 percent to 4,217.90 at the close of trading in Sydney. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index gained 0.4 percent to 3,247.50 in Wellington.

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

Base metals stocks: The London Metal Exchange Index rose 1.9 percent yesterday, the highest close since Oct. 28. Commodity prices gained amid speculation that China may ease monetary policy after a report yesterday showed economic growth slowed.

BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP) , the world’s biggest mining company, rose 0.8 percent to A$37. BHP reported December iron- ore production surged 22 percent from a year earlier to a record.

Linc Energy Ltd. (LNC) surged 9.2 percent to A$1.42. The energy company also rose 18 percent on Feb. 13. The company said Feb. 16 it’s in talks with potential cornerstone investors, with whom it may pursue opportunities in mainland China.

Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. (FMG) rose 5.2 percent to A$5.05. Growth in China, the world’s biggest consumer of iron ore, expanded at the slowest pace in more than two years, sparking speculation of easing monetary policy that would benefit the construction and property sectors, the main users of steel.

Lynas Corp. (LYC) rose 4.4 percent to A$1.06 after the rare-earths developer increased the size of the resource of its Mount Weld mine in Western Australia.

To contact the reporter on this story: Elisabeth Behrmann in Sydney at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: John McCluskey at

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