Australian, N.Z. Stocks: Gunns, Lynas, Macquarie, Whitehaven

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index fell

0.5 percent to 4,661.60 at the 4:10 p.m. close of trading in Sydney. The index has advanced 0.3 percent this week, extending this month’s gain to 1.7 percent.

New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index climbed 0.5 percent to 3,304.89 at the 5 p.m. close in Wellington, taking this week’s gain to

0.5 percent. The index has advanced 4 percent this month.

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

Mining shares: Three-month-delivery copper fell as much as 1 percent to $8,255 a metric ton on the London Metal Exchange, the lowest level since Oct. 20, and traded at $8,275 at 10:53 a.m. in Singapore.

BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP AU), the world’s largest mining company, fell 0.2 percent to A$41.92.

Rio Tinto Group (RIO AU), the world’s third-biggest miner, dropped 1.3 percent to A$82.69.

AWE Ltd. (AWE AU) rose 0.3 percent to A$1.505 and Roc Oil Co. (ROC AU) fell 4.6 percent to 41.5 Australian cents. AWE, an Australian oil and gas explorer that has embarked on a A$175 million ($171 million) drilling program, said it named energy explorer Roc Oil’s Bruce Clement as managing director.

Gunns Ltd. (GNS AU) dropped 7.5 percent to 67.5 Australian cents. The nation’s biggest woodchip exporter cut its fiscal 2011 earnings forecast, according to a regulatory filing.

Lynas Corp. (LYC AU), a miner of rare earths, fell 7.3 percent to A$1.465. China ended an unannounced embargo on exports of rare-earth minerals to the U.S., Europe and Japan, the New York Times reported yesterday, citing four industry officials it didn’t identify. Japan has no evidence China resumed exports, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshito Sengoku told reporters in Tokyo today.

Macquarie Group Ltd. (MQG AU) rose 4.8 percent to A$36.20. Australia’s biggest investment bank posted first-half profit that beat analysts’ estimates and said markets are recovering.

Panoramic Resources Ltd. (PAN AU) fell 5.6 percent to A$2.35. The Australian nickel producer had its stock rating downgraded to “neutral” from “buy” by analysts at UBS AG.

Paperlinx Ltd. (PPX AU) dropped 3.3 percent to 44.5 Australian cents. The nation’s largest papermaker was downgraded to “underperform” from “neutral” at Credit Suisse Group AG.

ResMed Inc. (RMD AU) rose 2.4 percent to A$3.41. The world’s second-biggest maker of machines to overcome night-time breathing disorders had a 35 percent jump in fiscal first-quarter profit, spurred by sales of its new S9 devices for sleep apnea.

Whitehaven Coal Ltd. (WHC AU) rose 8.9 percent to a record A$6.96. The Australian coal producer said it will give potential buyers access to financial information as part of a formal bidding process.

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