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Australian, N.Z. Stocks: BHP, Aquila, Gloucester Coal, Bradken

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 0.4 percent to 4,119.80 at the close of trading in Sydney. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index gained 1 percent to 3,270.21 in Wellington.

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

BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP AU) dropped 0.2 percent to A$34.92. The world’s biggest mining company is considering the sale of its diamond business, it said in a regulatory filing yesterday. Metals prices dropped 0.5 percent in London.

Aquila Resources Ltd. (AQA AU) climbed 3.5 percent to A$6.48. The company said it received conditional approval for the construction and operation of mining and associated infrastructure at its iron ore development in the Western Pilbara region, according to a regulatory filing. The approval includes a rail line to ship ore from the West Pilbara Iron Ore Project, in which Aquila holds a 50 percent interest.

Gloucester Coal Ltd. (GCL AU) gained 4.1 percent to A$7.69. The miner is targeting 5.5 million tons of production in the 2012 fiscal year and 10 million tons by 2015, according to a regulatory filing.

Metcash Ltd. (MTS AU) rose 1.5 percent to A$4.03. An Australian appeal court upheld Metcash’s acquisition of the Franklins supermarket chain from Pick n Pay Stores Ltd. The grocery wholesaler reported first-half net income fell 14 percent to A$94.4 million, according to a regulatory filing.

Bradken Ltd. (BKN AU) jumped 3.2 percent to A$7.33. The company said it completed a $200 million placement of debt with U.S. investors.

Regis Resources Ltd. (RRL AU) fell 0.3 percent to A$3.29. The company was rated a new “buy” at UBS AG with a price target of A$4.40.

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