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Australian, N.Z. Stocks: Aevum, BHP Billiton, Santos, Sundance

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Sept. 14 (Bloomberg) -- Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index gained 0.3 percent to 4,626.50 at the 4:10 p.m. close in Sydney. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index climbed 0.6 percent to 3,197.52 at the 5 p.m. close in Wellington.

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

Australia:

Coal producers: Macarthur Coal Ltd. (MCC AU), Whitehaven Coal Ltd. (WHC AU) and Aquila Resources Ltd. (AQA AU) may be Australian takeover targets for overseas suitors using cheap debt fueled by record-low U.S. interest rates, said Southern Cross Equities Ltd.

Macarthur surged 6.7 percent to A$11.93, Whitehaven rose 2.3 percent to A$6.23, and Aquila advanced 3.5 percent to A$9.25.

Oil companies: Crude oil for October delivery climbed 1 percent to $77.19 a barrel yesterday on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the highest settlement price since Aug. 11.

Santos Ltd. (STO AU) advanced 3.3 percent to A$12.78. New Zealand Oil & Gas Ltd. (NZO NZ), the nation’s biggest publicly traded explorer, climbed 2.3 percent to NZ$1.32 in Wellington.

Aevum Ltd. (AVE AU), a retirement-village operator, surged 4 percent to A$1.805 after saying its board would consider a higher takeover offer from Stockland.

BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP AU), the world’s largest mining company, climbed 1.3 percent to A$39.05. Copper futures for delivery in December gained 2.1 percent to close at $3.479 a pound at 1:19 p.m. yesterday on the Comex in New York, the biggest gain for a most-active contract since Sept. 1.

Sundance Resources Ltd. (SDL AU), seeking to develop a $3.4 billion iron ore mine in West Africa, jumped 6 percent to 26.5 Australian cents after signing an initial accord with China Harbour Engineering Co. to study construction of a port.

New Zealand:

Michael Hill International Ltd. (MHI NZ) fell 1.5 percent to 68 New Zealand cents. The jewelry retailer said the Hill family won’t be seeking approval to increase its stake at an upcoming annual meeting.

To contact the reporter for this story: Shani Raja in Sydney at sraja4@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Darren Boey at dboey@bloomberg.net.

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