Australia, N.Z. Stocks: Austar, Commonwealth, Paladin, Sundance

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index climbed 1 percent to 4,602.90 at the 4:10 p.m. close of trading in Sydney, capping its fourth weekly advance in five.

New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index rose 0.8 percent to 3,449.22 in Wellington, snapping two straight weekly losses for the gauge.

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

Gold producers: Gold futures for August delivery fell 0.6 percent on the Comex in New York yesterday.

Newcrest Mining Ltd. (NCM AU), Australia’s biggest gold producer, declined 1.4 percent to A$40.02. Rival Alacer Gold Corp. (AQG AU) dropped 1.4 percent to A$8.51.

Banks: Euro-area leaders announced new aid for Greece and erected a firewall around Spain and Italy to help ease the region’s sovereign debt crisis, reducing uncertainty over earnings at financial companies.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA AU) climbed 1.6 percent to A$50.52 after Australia’s biggest lender by market value appointed Ian Narev as Chief Executive Officer to replace Ralph Norris when he retires at the end of November.

Westpac Banking Corp. (WBC AU), the second-biggest lender, gained 2.2 percent to A$21.60.

Austar United Communications Ltd. (AUN AU) slumped 16 percent to A$1.085. The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission said it deferred a decision on its proposed takeover by Foxtel, Australia’s largest pay-TV operator, in the light of “competition issues” arising from its review of the case.

ConnectEast Group (CEU AU) jumped 20 percent to 54 Australian cents. CP2 Ltd., an Australian infrastructure fund manager, agreed to buy the rest of ConnectEast Group for 55 cents a share, in a deal valuing the toll-road operator at A$2.17 billion ($2.4 billion).

Paladin Energy Ltd. (PDN AU) advanced 6.8 percent to A$2.69. The uranium producer gained after analysts at Deutsche Bank AG said the stock has been “oversold” amid concern over the outlook for uranium prices.

Paladin’s growth profile is still “one of the most aggressive” in the uranium industry, according to the bank.

Sundance Resources Ltd. (SDL AU) gained 2.9 percent to 53.5 Australian cents. Sundance and Sichuan Hanlong Group are close to a deal on a takeover of the Australian iron ore producer after the companies met in Beijing with Cameroon’s president, the Australian Financial Review reported in its Street Talk column, without saying where it got the information.

Sundance later today said it had met with Sichuan Hanlong in Beijing this week and expects talks to continue.

New Zealand:

Methven Ltd. (MVN NZ) gained 6.8 percent to NZ$1.57 after the New Zealand distributor of taps and showerheads said it expects a 90 percent year-on-year profit increase amid improving operational efficiency and a turnaround at its U.K. decision.

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