March 30 (Bloomberg) -- Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index gained 1.4 percent to 4,822.20 at the 4:10 p.m. close of trading in Sydney, setting it on course for its third straight quarterly advance.
New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index added 0.4 percent to 3,433.16 at the 5 p.m. close in Wellington, completing 11 straight days of gains.
The following were among the most active shares in the market today. Stock symbols are in parentheses after company names.
Mining companies: A measure of primary metals traded in London gained 0.9 percent yesterday.
BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP AU), the world’s No. 1 mining company, added 2 percent to A$45.61. Rio Tinto Group (RIO AU), the world’s second-largest mining company by sales, climbed 2.4 percent to A$84.28.
Riversdale Mining Ltd. (RIV AU), target of a A$3.9 billion ($4 billion) takeover bid from Rio Tinto, rose 2.1 percent to A$16.44 after London-based Rio yesterday declared its offer free of conditions.
Bradken Ltd. (BKN AU) gained 4.7 percent to A$7.84 after the supplier of tools and services to mining companies was raised to “outperform” from “neutral” at Credit Suisse Group AG.
JB Hi-Fi Ltd. (JBH AU) climbed 1 percent to A$20.03. The Australian electronics retailer was raised to “outperform” from “neutral” at Credit Suisse Group AG.
Newcrest Mining Ltd. (NCM AU), Australia’s largest gold producer, rallied 3.7 percent to A$39.93. Harmony Gold Mining Co., Africa’s third-largest producer of the metal, said the company’s Wafi-Golpu joint venture with Newcrest in Papua New Guinea may be three times the size of its next biggest mine.
Qantas Airways Ltd. (QAN AU) advanced 1.9 percent to A$2.19 after Australia’s biggest airline said it will retire some aircraft and reduce capacity to deal with the impact of rising oil costs and natural disasters in Japan, New Zealand and Australia.
“It’s good to see management quick to take actions aimed at minimizing the impacts of some of these challenges,” said Will Seddon, who helps manage about $350 million at White Funds Management Pty in Sydney.”
Sigma Pharmaceuticals Ltd. (SIP AU) surged 4.3 percent to 48.5 Australian cents after the drugmaker announced a special dividend of 15 Australian cents.
Rakon Ltd. (RAK NZ) jumped 9.5 percent to NZ$1.15. The New Zealand-based supplier of crystal oscillators for global positioning systems said it is continuing to see “significant growth” in demand for its products designed for smart phones and tablet computers, and that it expects this to continue.
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