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Australian, N.Z. Equities: Aston, Bow, Murchison, Newcrest

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Sept. 26 (Bloomberg) -- Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index fell 1 percent to 3,863.90 at the 4:10 p.m. end of trading in Sydney, the lowest closing level in more than two years.

New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index lost 0.8 percent to 3,255.37 at the 5 p.m. close in Wellington after report showed the nation’s trade deficit was wider than economists forecast in August.

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

Mining shares: New York-traded copper futures slumped as much as 6.4 percent today after world finance chiefs said a failure to contain Europe’s debt crisis posed a “catastrophic” risk to the global economic outlook. Copper dropped 6 percent decline on Sept. 23.

BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP AU), the world’s No. 1 mining company, fell 1.7 percent to A$33.95. Rival Rio Tinto Group (RIO AU) slid 3.9 percent to A$60.20.

Oil stocks: Crude oil futures fell as much 3.1 percent today. Woodside Petroleum Ltd. (WPL AU), Australia’s second-biggest oil and gas producer, dropped 5 percent to A$29.80. Santos Ltd. (STO AU), Australia’s third-largest oil and gas producer, slipped 4.2 percent to A$10.40.

Gold producers: Gold futures for December delivery sank 5.9 percent in New York on Sept. 23, and as much as 4.2 percent today.

Newcrest Mining Ltd. (NCM AU), Australia’s biggest gold producer, dropped 8.5 percent to A$32.86. St. Barbara Ltd. (SBM AU) slumped 12 percent to A$1.845.

Aston Resources Ltd. (AZT AU) lost 2.7 percent to A$9.75. The coking-coal developer expects planning approvals for its Maules Creek project in the first quarter of 2012 and is targeting first commercial coal in mid-2013, according to a regulatory filing.

Bow Energy Ltd. (BOW AU) advanced 0.3 percent to A$1.465. Arrow Energy Ltd., owned by Royal Dutch Shell Plc and PetroChina Co., agreed to buy Bow Energy after raising its offer to A$535 million ($524 million) to gain more resources for a natural gas project in Australia.

Murchison Metals Ltd. (MMX AU) tumbled 20 percent to 33 Australian cents after failing to secure funding for a A$5.94 billion ($5.8 billion) iron-ore-infrastructure project in Western Australia.

New Zealand:

Hallenstein Glasson Holdings Ltd. (HLG NZ) jumped 8.5 percent to NZ$3.45 after the New Zealand clothing retailer said full-year earnings fell by less than the company indicated in late May.

To contact the reporter on this story: Shani Raja in Sydney at sraja4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Nick Gentle at ngentle2@bloomberg.net

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