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Australian Stocks: Aquila, BHP, Pharmaxis, Rio Tinto, Woodside

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 2.7 percent to 4,255 at the close of trading in Sydney as European leaders inched toward a revamped strategy to contain the region’s debt crisis.

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

Commodity stocks: New York-traded copper futures jumped 5.4 percent, the most in two years, on Oct. 21, while the London Metal Exchange Index of prices for six metals, including copper and aluminum, gained 4.7 percent. Crude futures rose 1.6 percent on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Oil and copper futures climbed in trading today.

BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP AU), the world’s top mining company, rose 3.2 percent to A$36.85. Rio Tinto Group (RIO AU), the world’s second-largest miner by sales, gained 4.9 percent to A$65.63.

Santos Ltd. (STO AU), Australia’s third-largest oil and gas producer, added 3.5 percent to A$12.54. Woodside Petroleum Ltd. (WPL AU), the second-biggest, advanced 3.6 percent to A$34.59.

Aquila Resources Ltd. (AQA AU) jumped 9.5 percent to A$5.67 after saying its Washpool Coal Pty unit signed a 10-year contract with QR National Ltd. (QRN AU) to transport by rail as much as 1.6 million tons a year of coal. QR National, Australia’s largest coal-train operator, advanced 2.9 percent to A$3.25.

Pharmaxis Ltd. (PXS AU) surged 50 percent to A$1.41. The Australian developer of an experimental treatment for cystic fibrosis won a recommendation from a regulatory panel of the European Medicines Agency to market Bronchitol, the company’s most-advanced drug.

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