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Australia, N.Z. Stocks: Telstra, Cochlear, Billabong, Rio

March 27 (Bloomberg) -- Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.9 percent to 4,301.30 at the close of trading in Sydney. More than three stocks advanced for every one that fell in the index. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index climbed 0.4 percent to 3,483.96 in Wellington. The following were some of the most active stocks on the market:

The S&P/ASX 200’s information technology sub-index was the best-performing sector of the market, with a 2.2 percent increase, followed by the health index, which climbed 1.5 percent.

Telstra Corp. (TLS AU), the country’s largest phone company, rose 0.3 percent to A$3.23, while SMS Management & Technology Ltd. (SMX AU), a Melbourne-based information technology services group, rose 4.8 percent to A$5.88. Cochlear Ltd. (COH AU), which makes hearing implants, climbed 3.8 percent to A$59.46.

Billabong International Ltd. (BBG AU), the world’s second-biggest listed surfwear company, gained 5.2 percent to A$2.84.

Gold mining stocks: Spot gold hit $1,693.60 in overnight trade, its highest level in two months.

Ramelius Resources Ltd. (RMS AU), focused on gold projects in Western Australia, had the biggest gain in Australia’s benchmark index, climbing 9.1 percent to 84 Australian cents. In Wellington, OceanaGold Ltd. (OGC NZ) gained 2.6 percent to NZ$3.22, the second-largest increase on New Zealand’s benchmark gauge.

Nufarm Ltd. (NUF AU), Australia’s No. 1 herbicides and pesticides manufacturer, fell 2.8 percent to A$4.96. The company released first-half sales figures that were 8.3 percent below analyst expectations.

Stockland (SGP AU), the country’s third-largest listed property trust, dropped 4.5 percent drop to A$3. The company said that wet weather and the weakness in the country’s housing market meant that earnings per share during the year would be 3.5 percent below previous forecasts.

Mining stocks: The London Metal Exchange Index of prices for six industrial commodities including copper and aluminum rose at the fastest rate in nearly two weeks, climbing 1.3 percent yesterday. Three-month copper futures gained 1.9 percent to $8,535 per metric ton, the biggest for the commodity climb since March 9.

Sundance Resources Ltd. (SDL AU), which is developing an iron-ore mine in central Africa, rose 6 percent to 44.5 Australian cents while Boart Longyear Ltd. (BLY AU), which supplies drilling equipment for mine exploration, climbed 6.3 percent to A$4.36.

Rio Tinto Ltd. (RIO AU) rose 0.6 percent to A$64.10 after the world’s third-largest miner said it had completed a $7 billion share buy-back in the company’s London listing.

Mirabela Nickel Ltd. (MBN AU), developing a mine in Brazil, suffered the biggest fall on the benchmark with a 7.5 percent drop to 74 Australian cents. The stock has fallen 34 percent this year.

Dart Energy Ltd. (DTE AU), which is developing coal seam gas projects worldwide, fell 3.3 percent to 29.5 Australian cents. Nymex natural gas fell yesterday to its lowest close in at least 10 years, closing at A$2.21 per British thermal unit.

To contact the reporter on this story: David Fickling in Sydney at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: John McCluskey at

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