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Australia, N.Z. Stocks: Aston, BHP, Perseus, Sundance, Woodside

Oct. 4 (Bloomberg) -- Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index dropped 0.6 percent to 3,872.10 at the 4:10 p.m. close of trading in Sydney. The gauge, which just completed its second consecutive quarterly decline, has lost 18 percent this year.

New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index gained 0.1 percent to 3,320.39 at the 5 p.m. close in Wellington. The gauge just completed its first quarterly decline in five, and has risen 0.3 percent this year.

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

Mining stocks: Copper futures for December delivery dropped as much as 3.6 percent today as disagreement among policy makers in Europe damped speculation of a breakthrough in talks to resolve the region’s debt crisis.

BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP AU), the world’s No. 1 mining company, fell 0.6 percent to A$33.96. Rio Tinto Group (RIO AU), the world’s second-largest mining company by sales, declined 0.5 percent to A$59.

Oil stocks: Crude oil for November delivery fell 2 percent in New York yesterday, and as much as 2.2 percent today.

Woodside Petroleum Ltd. (WPL AU), Australia’s second-biggest oil and gas producer, slipped 0.4 percent to A$31.51. Santos Ltd. (STO AU), Australia’s third-largest oil and gas producer, fell 1.8 percent to A$10.88.

Gold producers: Gold futures for December delivery gained 2.2 percent yesterday in New York, and as much as 0.7 percent today.

Perseus Mining Ltd. (PRU AU), which explores for gold in West Africa and Central Asia, advanced 5.4 percent to A$3.10. Rival Kingsgate Consolidated Ltd. (KCN AU) climbed 2.6 percent to A$7.06.

Aston Resources Ltd. (AZT AU) rose 0.7 percent to A$10.03. The Australian coking-coal developer agreed to sell a 10 percent stake in its Maules Creek coal project for A$370 million ($357 million) to Japan’s Electric Power Development Co. Ltd.

Sundance Resources Ltd. (SDL AU) advanced 5.8 percent to 45.5 Australian cents. Sichuan Hanlong Group agreed to sweeten its offer for the rest of Sundance to A$1.36 billion ($1.3 billion) to gain control of the Australian company’s iron-ore project in West Africa.

To contact the reporter on this story: Shani Raja in Sydney at; Kaitlyn Kiernan in New York at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: John McCluskey at

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