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Australian, N.Z. Stocks: BHP, Boral, Cochlear, News Corp., Rio

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index climbed 1.8 percent to 4,549.70 at the 4:10 p.m. close of trading in Sydney, the biggest jump since Dec. 2.

New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index advanced 0.5 percent to 3,408.37 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.

Mining companies: Copper futures for September delivery advanced 1.5 percent on the Comex in New York yesterday.

BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP AU), the world’s No. 1 mining company, gained 1.9 percent to A$43.44. Rio Tinto Group (RIO AU), the world’s second-largest mining company by sales, rose 1.5 percent to A$82.55.

Oil stocks: Crude for August delivery rose 1.6 percent on the New York Mercantile Exchange yesterday.

Woodside Petroleum Ltd. (WPL AU), Australia’s second-biggest oil and gas producer, added 2 percent to A$39.69. Santos Ltd. (STO AU), Australia’s third-largest oil and gas producer, gained 1.8 percent to A$13.35.

Boral Ltd. (BLD AU) surged 4.2 percent to A$4.24. The Australian seller of building materials was raised to “hold” from “sell” by analysts at Citigroup Inc, who said recent share price declines made the stock more attractive.

Cochlear Ltd. (COH AU) gained 3.2 percent to A$73.13. The maker of hearing implants was raised to “hold” from “sell” at Deutsche Bank AG.

News Corp. (NWS AU) gained 5.1 percent to A$15.24 after Chairman Rupert Murdoch denied any knowledge of phone-hacking and payments to police at his News of the World tabloid, blaming “people I trusted” during three hours of questioning by British lawmakers.

New Zealand:

Heartland New Zealand Ltd. (HNZ NZ) gained 3.3 percent to 63 New Zealand cents. The savings and loan yesterday said it boosted the size of a capital raising after getting institutional commitment for extra equity.

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