Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 0.4 percent to 4,288.40 at the close of trading in Sydney, taking its weekly gain to 1.2 percent. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index advanced 0.4 percent to 3,294.64 in Wellington for a weekly increase of .06 percent.
The following were among the most active shares in the market today. Stock symbols are in parentheses after company names.
Gold mining stocks: Gold headed for its longest weekly rally in five months after the Federal Reserve’s pledge to keep U.S. interest rates low until late 2014 boosted demand for the precious metal.
Newcrest Mining Ltd. (NCM AU), the country’s largest gold miner, gained 3.8 percent to A$34.40. Kingsgate Consolidated Ltd. (KCN AU) jumped 8.6 percent to A$7.32, making it the best performer in the benchmark index, while Regis Resources Ltd. (RRL AU) gained 7.6 percent to A$3.99.
Alacer Gold Corp. (AQG AU), which has operations in Australia and Turkey, dropped 4 percent to A$8.95 after Citigroup Inc. cut its rating on the stock to “neutral” from “buy.”
General mining stocks: The London Metal Exchange Index of prices for six metals, including copper and aluminum, rose 2.4 percent yesterday. Copper fell 0.6 percent in LME screen trade today. Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology also reported that tropical Cyclone Iggy will strengthen to a category three storm and bring strong wind and rain to the Pilbara iron-ore and offshore petroleum region on the west coast.
Rio Tinto Group (RIO AU) rose to its highest level in more than two months, climbing 2.1 percent to A$69.78. The world’s third-largest mining company said it may seek to replace senior management of Ivanhoe Mines Ltd. Rio moved this week to increase its stake in the Vancouver-based business, which operates the Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold project in Mongolia, to 51 percent.
BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP AU), the world’s largest miner, gained 0.6 percent to A$37.66, while Energy Resources of Australia Ltd. (ERA AU), operator of the Ranger uranium mine in the country’s Northern Territory and 68 percent owned by Rio Tinto, rose 6.1 percent to A$1.47.
ResMed Inc. (RMD AU) climbed 7.5 percent to A$2.73, making it the fourth-best performer in the benchmark, after the maker of medical devices to treat sleep disorders reported record second-quarter earnings.
OneSteel Ltd. (OST AU) was the worst performer in the S&P/ASX 200, falling 6.6 percent to 78 Australian cents, after after Nippon Steel Corp., Japan’s largest steelmaker, posted its first loss in three quarters and said it was curbing Asian exports. BlueScope Steel Ltd. (BSL AU), Australia’s largest steelmaker, dropped 6.1 percent to 38.5 Australian cents.
Woodside Petroleum Ltd. (WPL AU) rose 1.5 percent to A$34.48 after the company said it had interest from potential buyers in part of its 50 percent stake in the Browse natural gas project.