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Australia, N.Z. Stocks: Amcor, Austar, Biota, Santos, Woodside

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index gained 0.5 percent to 4,861.80 at the 4:10 p.m. close of trading in Sydney, capping a second straight weekly advance. The measure rose 2.5 percent this week.

New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index rose 0.4 percent to 3,452.14 at the 5 p.m. close of trading in Wellington, extending to 13 days its longest streak of advances in five years. It rose 1.9 percent in the past five days, the steepest weekly advance since September.

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


Oil stocks: Oil rose to the highest in 30 months in New York on concern the conflict in Libya will prolong production cuts and spread to Middle East producers.

Woodside Petroleum Ltd. (WPL AU), Australia’s second-biggest oil and gas producer, gained 1.3 percent to A$47.40. Royal Dutch Shell Plc might be holding talks with BHP, Mitsui & Co. Ltd. and Mitsubishi Corp. for a sale of its 24 percent stake in Woodside, the Australian Financial Review reported in its Street Talk column, without citing anyone.

Santos Ltd. (STO AU) added 2.6 percent to A$15.95.

Gold producers: Gold futures in New York declined after yesterday capping the longest streak of quarterly gains in more than three decades.

The June-delivery contract fell 0.5 percent to $1,433.40 an ounce at 10:21 a.m. Melbourne time. Bullion for immediate delivery declined 55 cents to $1,431.75 an ounce.

Newcrest Mining Ltd. (NCM AU), Australia’s biggest gold producer, gained 1 percent to A$40.20. St. Barbara Ltd. (SBM AU) climbed 3.2 percent to A$2.25.

Amcor Ltd. (AMC AU) climbed 3 percent to A$7.27. Nipro Corp., a Japanese medical product manufacturer, plans to pay 14 billion yen ($167 million) for the pharmaceutical-glass packaging business of Amcor Ltd., the Nikkei newspaper reported.

Austar United Communications Ltd. (AUN AU) rose 3.4 percent to A$1.36. Austar denied a report in the Australian Financial Review that said pay-television operator Foxtel agreed to offer A$1.9 billion ($1.96 billion) for the company. The shares earlier rose as much as 6.5 percent.

Biota Holdings Ltd. (BTA AU) jumped 36 percent to A$1.425 after the company said its subsidiary was awarded an estimated $231 million contract in the U.S.

Gunns Ltd. (GNS AU) declined 1.6 percent to 61 Australian cents. The company said it will suspend woodchip operations at the Tasmanian Triabunna mill for eight weeks starting mid-April after Japan’s strongest earthquake on record caused disruption to supplies of fibre for its export markets.

New Zealand:

Fisher & Paykel Appliances Holdings Ltd. (FPA NZ) added 2.5 percent to 61 New Zealand cents after saying Standard and Poor’s maintained a BB long-term issuer credit rating with a stable outlook on its Fisher & Paykel Finance Ltd. subsidiary.

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