Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index was little changed at 4,008.60 at the 4:10 p.m. close of trading in Sydney after swinging between gains and losses. The gauge completed its sixth straight monthly drop and second consecutive quarterly decline.
New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index climbed 1.3 percent to 3,343.35 at the 5 p.m. close in Wellington, capping a 1.9 percent weekly gain. New Zealand’s dollar dropped versus its U.S. counterpart after the nation lost its AA grades on local-currency debt at Fitch Ratings and Standard & Poor’s, which both cited concerns about the country’s fiscal burden.
The New Zealand stocks gauge completed its first monthly advance in four and first quarterly decline in five.
The following were among the most active shares in the market today. Stock symbols are in parentheses after company names.
Oil stocks: Crude oil for November delivery gained 1.2 percent in New York yesterday and as much as 1.3 percent today.
Woodside Petroleum Ltd. (WPL AU), Australia’s second-biggest oil and gas producer, climbed 1.1 percent to A$32.48. Santos Ltd. (STO AU), Australia’s third-largest oil and gas producer, added 0.9 percent to A$11.37.
Anvil Mining Ltd. (AVM AU) jumped 32 percent to A$7.65. Minmetals Resources Ltd., a unit of China’s largest metals trader, agreed to buy the company for 39 percent more than Anvil’s last price in Toronto.
Goodman Fielder Ltd. (GFF AU) Goodman Fielder Ltd. fell 13 percent to 48 Australian cents after selling new stock at a discount and at least two brokers cut their recommendations on Australia’s biggest baker. In Wellington, Goodman Fielder’s shares fell 15 percent.
QBE Insurance Group Ltd. (QBE AU) climbed 2.1 percent to A$12.88. Australia’s biggest insurer may be among bidders for HSBC Holdings Plc’s insurance business, the Australian Financial Review reported in its Street Talk column, without citing anyone. AXA SA, Tokio Marine Holdings Inc. and Allianz SE are also potential buyers, according to the report.
Sonic Healthcare Ltd. (SHL AU) slid 3.4 percent to A$11.40 after the medical diagnostics company was downgraded to “sell” from “neutral” at UBS AG.