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Australian, N.Z. Stocks: Bathurst, BHP, Macquarie, Mirvac, News

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index fell 1 percent to 4,040.20 at the 4:10 p.m. close of trading in Sydney. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index was little changed at 3,290.62 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 stocks: A measure of primary metals traded in London fell 3.1 percent yesterday. Copper futures for December delivery declined 3.8 percent on the Comex in New York. New York-traded copper swung today between gains and losses.

BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP AU), the world’s No. 1 mining company, lost 2.1 percent to A$36.80. Rio Tinto Group (RIO AU), the world’s second-largest mining company by sales, dropped 1.9 percent to A$68.90.

Bathurst Resources Ltd. (BTU AU) plunged 11 percent to 77 Australian cents. The mineral exploration company was downgraded to “sell” from “buy” at E.L. & C. Baillieu Stockbroking Ltd.

Coal of Africa Ltd. (CZA AU) declined 3.2 percent to 91 Australian cents. The miner of the energy commodity in South Africa posted a wider annual loss as asset impairment charges overwhelmed gains in production and sales.

CSL Ltd. (CSL AU) gained 2.8 percent to A$27.20 after the world’s second-biggest maker of blood-derived therapies started marketing a $250 million bond sale to U.S. private investors.

Macquarie Group Ltd. (MQG AU) lost 2.3 percent to A$21.29. The investment bank has cut 47 staff from its private wealth management unit, the Australian Financial Review reported, without saying where it got the information. The job losses mainly involved support staff in Sydney at its retail brokerage division, according to the paper.

Metcash Ltd. (MTS AU) gained 1 percent to A$4.12. Australia’s biggest grocery wholesaler can complete its acquisition of the Franklins supermarket chain from Pick n Pay Stores Ltd. over the objections of the country’s antitrust regulator after a Federal Court judge refused to block the sale.

Mirvac Group (MGR AU) fell 1.7 percent to A$1.13. The Australian property group was downgraded to “hold” from “buy” at Deutsche Bank AG. Analysts cited the risk of future impairment charges and the potential for margin erosion if sales don’t improve over the spring and summer.

News Corp. (NWS AU) climbed 1.2 percent to A$16.39. News Corp.’s U.K. unit will pay 3 million pounds ($4.7 million) to settle claims that the News of the World tabloid hacked the mobile phone of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler, a person with knowledge of the matter said.

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