Australian, N.Z. Stocks: BHP, Industrea, Paladin, Toll

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index fell 2.4 percent to 4,165.50 at the close of trading in Sydney, its lowest close since March. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index slid 0.6 percent to 3,514.51 in Wellington.

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

Alacer Gold Corp. (AQG AU) dropped 9.1 percent to A$5.58, extending this year’s slump to 44 percent, as the metal producer reported increased costs for the first quarter.

Mining companies: Resource shares declined as the London Metal Exchange Index of prices for six industrial metals including copper and aluminum slid 0.6 percent yesterday.

BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP AU), the world’s largest mining company, fell 4.1 percent to A$32.49, its lowest level since July 2009. Rio Tinto Group (RIO AU), the third biggest, lost 3.9 percent to A$57.99.

Industrea Ltd. (IDL AU) surged 43 percent to A$1.23, the most since 2005, after General Electric Co. offered to buy the manufacturer and distributor of mining equipment for A$1.27 per share.

Paladin Energy Ltd. (PDN AU) sank 9.3 percent to A$1.165 after the uranium explorer reported a net loss of $17.5 million for the first quarter.

SP Ausnet (SPN AU) may be active when trading resumes. The company is raising A$434 million ($429.19 million) at A$1 per share. The stock closed at A$1.1052 yesterday. Shares of the electricity operator were halted.

Toll Holding Ltd. (TOL AU) slumped 15 percent to A$4.73 as the freight transporter forecast underlying earnings before interest and tax of between A$400 million and A$420 million for the full year of 2012. That’s down from A$436 million a year ago.

Westfield Group (WDC AU) slid 2.2 percent to A$9.22 after the retail group owner said first-quarter operating performance was in line with expectations.

New Zealand companies:

Sky Network Television Ltd. (SKT NZ), New Zealand’s largest pay television company, fell 7 percent to NZ$5.07, the most on record, after the nation’s competition regulator said it was investigating the broadcaster.

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