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Australian, N.Z. Stocks: Independence Group, Saracen, Woolworths

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index slid 1 percent to 4,255.6 at the 4:10 p.m. close of trading in Sydney. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index rose 0.3 percent to 3,330.85 in Wellington.

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

Mining stocks: The London Metal Exchange Index of prices for six industrial commodities including copper and aluminum fell 1.2 percent yesterday.

Rio Tinto Group (RIO AU) slid 1.8 percent to A$66.25. BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP AU), the world’s biggest mining company, fell 1.5 percent to A$35.55.

Henderson Group Plc (HGG AU) tumbled 3.2 percent to A$1.82. The financial services provider said clients pulled 6.4 billion pounds ($10 billion) of assets last year. The company warned of an “uncertain” outlook for 2012.

Independence Group NL (IGO AU) slumped 3.6 percent to A$4.33. The mining company reported a loss of A$144.6 million ($155.5 million) in the six months through Dec. 31, swinging from a A$22.6 million gain a year earlier.

Saracen Mineral Holdings Ltd. (SAR AU) plunged 11 percent to 64.5 Australian cents, the biggest decline on Australia’s benchmark index. The gold explorer yesterday reported a 72 percent plunge in first-half profit to A$9.6 million from a year earlier.

Southern Cross Media Group Ltd. (SXL AU) jumped 6.3 percent to A$1.345, the biggest gain on the S&P/ASX 200. The broadcasting and publishing company reported first-half net income of A$94 million, up from A$33.6 million a year ago.

Woolworths Ltd. (WOW AU) was little changed at A$25.30. Australia’s largest retailer said group profit before interest and tax rose 3.3 percent to A$1.85 billion in the first half.

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