Australian, N.Z. Stocks: BHP, Linc, Lynas, Mesoblast, Sundance

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Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index rose

3.6 percent to 4,004.60 at the 4:10 p.m. close of trading in Sydney, its biggest gain since Dec. 8, 2008.

New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index gained 1.2 percent to 3,292.83 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: Industrial metals rebounded with copper climbing as much as 2.6 percent to $7,455 a metric ton, snapping seven days of decline as European officials discussed plans to resolve the region’s debt crisis.

BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP AU), the world’s No. 1 mining company, increased 4.1 percent to A$35.35. The company said that Chinese demand for seaborne iron ore will outpace supply as the world’s fastest-growing economy’s steel production continues to expand. BHP plans to boost iron-ore output in Western Australia to an “ultimate objective” of 450 million metric tons annually, from a current 155 million tons, the company said

Rio Tinto Group (RIO AU), the world’s second-largest mining company by sales, advanced 5.4 percent to A$63.42.

Oil stocks: Crude for November delivery gained as much as $12 to $82.24 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Woodside Petroleum Ltd. (WPL AU), Australia’s second-biggest oil and gas producer, rose 3.6 percent to A$30.86. Santos Ltd. (STO AU), Australia’s third-largest oil and gas producer, gained 6.1 percent to A$11.03.

Gold producers: Gold futures advanced for the first time in five days after the biggest three-day drop since 1983 encouraged purchases by investors seeking a store of value amid turmoil in global financial markets.

Newcrest Mining Ltd. (NCM AU), Australia’s biggest gold producer, jumped 4.8 percent to A$34.42. St. Barbara Ltd. (SBM AU) rallied 12 percent to A$2.06. Medusa Mining Ltd. (MML AU), a gold explorer, surged 14 percent to A$7.30. Perseus Mining Ltd. (PRU AU), which explores for gold in West Africa and Central Asia, advanced 10 percent to A$3.11. Gryphon Minerals Ltd. (GRY AU) soared 20 percent to A$1.40.

ConnectEast Group (CEU AU), an infrastructure company, advanced 13 percent to 55 Australian cents, after being halted from trading yesterday and earlier today. The company’s shareholders today approved a bid by its biggest investor to buy the part of the toll-road operator it doesn’t already own in a deal valuing the company at A$2.17 billion ($2.14 billion).

Linc Energy Ltd. (LNC AU), which produces ultra-clean diesel and jet fuels, jumped 13 percent to A$1.90. The company reported the discovery of “a significant oil shale deposit” in South Australia.

Lynas Corp. (LYC AU), which explores mines for rare earth minerals, surged 35 percent to A$1.18. The stock was boosted to a “strong buy” rating from “underperform” by BBY Ltd. Shares also gained on optimism for sustained demand for rare earths. The fundamental outlook for rare earths remains strong given expected demand growth for their use in applications, including hybrid cars and wind turbines, Geoff Muers, resources analyst with Investec Bank Australia Ltd. said by phone.

Mesoblast Ltd. (MSB AU), a developer of stem-cell treatments, advanced 2.6 percent to A$7.80. The company will form a manufacturing alliance with Lonza Group AG as it prepares to mass-produce its regenerative therapies.

Sundance Resources Ltd. (SDL AU), a mineral explorer, surged 15 percent to 41.5 Australian cents. The company may issue a signed recommendation for Sichuan Hanlong Group’s A$1.2 billion takeover bid, with the offer price expected to rise almost 10 percent, the Australian Financial Review reported in its Street Talk column.

Ten Network Holdings Ltd. (TEN AU), an Australian broadcaster, increased 5.4 percent to 87.5 Australian cents. The company was raised to “strong buy” from “buy” at BBY Ltd.

Virgin Blue Holdings Ltd. (VBA AU) climbed 3.2 percent to 32 Australian cents. Air New Zealand Ltd. has increased its interest in Australia’s second-biggest carrier to 19.99 percent from 14.99 percent.

Wesfarmers Ltd. (WES AU), an Australian company with businesses ranging from supermarkets to mines, rose 3.5 percent to A$31.55. The company had its outlook revised to positive from stable by Fitch Ratings, which maintained its BBB+ credit rating.

New Zealand:

Pumpkin Patch Ltd. (PPL NZ), a children’s clothing retailer, plunged 10 percent to 80 New Zealand cents. The company reported full-year profit plunged 51 percent and Chief Executive Officer Maurice Prendergast resigned.

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