Australian, N.Z. Stocks: Austar, BHP, Rio, Kagara, Santos, Tiger

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index fell 1.5 percent to 4,143.7 at the close of trading in Sydney today. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index was little changed at 3,403.05 in Wellington.

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

Austar United Communications Ltd. (AUN AU) jumped 5.2 percent to $1.43. Foxtel, the Australian pay television company part-owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., faces further antitrust scrutiny before a ruling on its bid for rival Austar later this month.

BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP AU) fell 1.5 percent to A$34.05. The world’s biggest mining company declined after the London Metal Exchange Index of six metals dropped 2.6 percent yesterday, the third day of declines. Rio Tinto Group (RIO AU) declined 1.9 percent to A$62.42.

Endeavour Mining Corp. (EVR AU) declined 0.4 percent to A$2.27. The company said it has entered into a pact with Resolute Mining Ltd. (RSG AU) to sell 40 percent of its Finkolo joint venture for $20 million. Resolute fell 3.9 percent to A$1.875.

Kagara Ltd. (KZL AU) plunged 39 percent to 19 Australian cents. The base metal miner lowered its forecast for zinc and copper production for the current year, suspended development of an underground mine and halted exploration activities in North Queensland, which will result in 130 job cuts.

QBE Insurance Group Ltd. (QBE AU) gained 0.8 percent to A$11.91. The Australian insurer will pay about $420 million for HSBC Holdings Plc’s general insurance business in Argentina and the general insurance unit of Hang Seng Bank Ltd., HSBC said.

Santos Ltd. (STO AU) rose 0.7 percent to A$13.60. The Australian energy company, building a $16 billion liquefied natural gas project in Queensland state, forecasts that North American exports of the fuel will meet about 10 percent of global demand.

Tiger Resources Ltd. (TGS AU) slumped 3.7 percent to 39.5 Australian cents. The Australian miner said it may reach agreement in June to buy the stake of state-run Gecaminers in a copper project in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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