Australian, N.Z. Equities: AWE, Billabong, QBE, WorleyParsons

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index (AS51) rose 0.8 percent to 4,298.6 as of the 4:10 p.m. close of trading in Sydney. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index added 0.4 percent to 3,322.53 in Wellington.

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

Aristocrat Leisure Ltd. (ALL) fell 4.8 percent to A$2.76, the biggest decline on the benchmark index. The Australian maker of gambling slot machines was cut to “sell” from “hold” at Deutsche Bank AG, and to “neutral” from “buy” at Citigroup Inc.

AWE Ltd. (AWE) , an oil and gas explorer, dropped 3.7 percent to A$1.715 after being downgraded to “hold” from “buy” at Deutsche Bank, and to “neutral” from “buy” at UBS AG.

Billabong International Ltd. (BBG) , Australia’s largest surf-wear company, added 3.4 percent to A$3.08. Blackstone Group LP (BX) and KKR & Co. LP may join the bidding for the company after it rejected an offer of A$840 million ($906 million) by TPG Capital.

Goodman Fielder Ltd. (GFF) slid 3.7 percent to 66 Australian cents. The nation’s biggest baker was downgraded to “neutral” from “buy” at Goldman Sachs Group.

Harvey Norman Holdings Ltd. (HVN) slumped 4.2 percent to A$2.07, the second-biggest drop on the index. Australia’s largest electrical goods retailer said profit in the six months through Dec. 31 fell 2.1 percent as slow consumer spending curbed sales growth. Peer Myer Holdings Ltd. (MYR) dropped 3 percent to A$2.25, while JB Hi-Fi Ltd. (JBH) slipped 2.1 percent to A$11.40.

Macquarie Atlas Roads Group (MQA) fell 0.3 percent to A$1.67. The toll-road operator reported a full-year loss of A$289.5 million, extending a loss of A$142.5 million a year earlier.

QBE Insurance Group Ltd. (QBE) gained 1.3 percent to A$11.65. The insurer completed a A$450 million institutional share placement, selling about 42 million shares at A$10.70 each.

WorleyParsons Ltd. (WOR) tumbled 1.4 percent to A$28.37. The Sydney-based engineering company reported first-half net income of A$151.9 million, missing expectations for a A$156 million gain, according to an average of three analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

To contact the reporter on this story: Nichola Saminather in Sydney at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Nick Gentle at

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