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Australian, N.Z. Stocks: Cockatoo Coal, GrainCorp. Move

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index fell 0.4 percent to close at 4,196.70 at the close of trading in Sydney today. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index rose 0.5 percent to 3,452.37 in Wellington.

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

Beach Energy Ltd. (BPT AU) slipped 2 percent to A$1.465. The Australian shale gas explorer had its rating cut to “underperform” from “neutral” by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, partly on risks of higher development costs.

Cockatoo Coal Ltd. (COK AU) advanced 12 percent to 41 Australian cents a share. The coal producer said SK Networks Co. Ltd. will invest A$313 million ($330 million) in the company to increase its stake to 40 percent.

GrainCorp. Ltd. (GNC AU), eastern Australia’s largest grain handler, rose 4.2 percent to A$8.44. Glencore International Plc made a 3.5 billion pound ($5.48 billion) bid for Canadian rival Viterra Inc., the Sunday Telegraph reported, without saying where it got the information. Viterra (VTA AU) surged 33 percent to A$13.75 in Sydney.

Paladin Energy Ltd. (PDN AU) increased 3.1 percent to A$1.84. The Perth-based uranium producer said it plans to start drilling at its Michelin project in Canada in the third quarter of 2012 after a moratorium on mining was lifted.

Phillips River Mining Ltd. (PRH AU) declined 38 percent to 16 Australian cents. The explorer dropped the most since 1989 after Silver Lake Resources Ltd. said it ended a proposed merger between the two companies.

Warehouse Group Ltd. (WHS NZ) dropped 3.2 percent to NZ$2.71. New Zealand’s largest discount retailer had the rating on its shares lowered to “underperform” from “neutral” by analysts at Credit Suisse Group AG.

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