Australian Equities: QBE, Fletcher, BHP, Rio, Linc, White Energy

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index climbed 0.4 percent to 4,195.90 at the close of trading in Sydney today, taking its gain this week to 2.1 percent. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index advanced 0.2 percent to 3,227.46 in Wellington. It lost 0.8 percent for the week.

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

QBE Insurance Group Ltd. (QBE AU) fell 3.1 percent to A$11. The insurer was downgraded to “hold” from “buy” by Kieren Chidgey, an equity analyst at Deutsche Bank AG.

Fletcher Building Ltd. (FBU NZ), a New Zealand maker of materials for the building industry, climbed 2.1 percent to NZ$5.93 in Wellington after saying it raised $300 million issuing debt in the U.S.

Linc Energy Ltd. surged 18 percent to A$1.33 in Sydney, the most since August 2010. Linc in October narrowed discussions to sell a coal project in Queensland state to two bidders, Chief Executive Officer Peter Bond said at the time.

National Australia Bank Ltd. (NAB AU) gained 1 percent to A$23.80. The lender increased capital at its U.K. unit, Clydesdale, by 400 million pounds ($614 million).

Santos Ltd. (STO AU), Australia’s third-largest oil and gas producer, advanced 0.8 percent to A$12.85. The Adelaide-based company approved its A$490 million ($506 million) Fletcher Finucane oil project off the West Australian coast.

BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP AU) rose 0.6 percent to A$36.60. The world’s biggest mining company gained after the London Metal Exchange Index of six metals advanced 2.2 percent yesterday. Rio Tinto Group (RIO AU) climbed 0.7 percent to A$65.21.

White Energy Co. Ltd. (WEC AU) advanced 14 percent to 53 Australian cents. The company said it isn’t aware of any information that hasn’t already been announced that could explain the increase.

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