Australia, New Zealand Stocks: ANZ, Austar, Elders, Macmahon
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index (AS51) rose 1.3 percent to 4,244 as at the close in Sydney, its highest level since November 5. The benchmark gained 3.8 percent for the week and 7.3 percent through July, it fifth month of increase.
New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index (NZSE50FG) also advanced for the fifth straight month, gaining 0.7 percent to 3,016.20 in Wellington. Its rise for the week was 1.9 percent. The index climbed 7.9 percent for the month.
The following were among the most active shares in the market today. Stock symbols are in parentheses after company names.
Mining stocks: Copper prices rose the most in two weeks in New York yesterday as government reports showed signs of economic improvement in the U.S. and Europe, easing concern that the global recession will continue to reduce metals demand.
Aquarius Platinum Ltd. (AQP) rallied 3.5 percent to A$4.97. The world’s fourth-biggest producer of platinum confirmed it had completed the acquisition of Ridge Mining Plc.
Aristocrat Leisure Ltd. (ALL) dropped 2.3 percent to A$4.30. The world’s second-largest maker of slot machines turned to a first-half loss after taking A$79.9 million ($66 million) in writedowns on stakes in gaming companies Electronček and PokerTek Inc.
Arrow Energy Ltd. (AOE AU) climbed 3.1 percent to A$4.29. The company said net certified proved and probable gas reserves more than doubled to 2,581 petajoules.
Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. (ANZ) advanced 4.5 percent to A$18.53. The bank may announce the purchase of Royal Bank of Scotland Plc’s banking assets in Taiwan as early as next week, Dow Jones Newswires reported, without saying where it got the information. The company’s rating was also raised to “neutral” from “underperform” at Macquarie Group.
Austar United Communications Ltd. (AUN AU) jumped 7.3 percent to A$1.03. The Australian pay-television company plans to use improved credit markets to refinance part of its A$850 million senior bank debt, Chief Executive Officer John Porter told the Australian Financial Review.
Boart Longyear Ltd. (BLY) surged 18 percent to 29.5 Australian cents. The provider of drilling services to mining companies is edging closer to raising as much as A$350 million in capital, the Australian Financial Review reported, without saying where it got the information.
Elders Ltd. (ELD) soared 38 percent to 38 Australian cents. QBE Insurance Group Ltd., Australia’s biggest property and casualty insurer, agreed to pay A$315 million for the insurance units of Elders Ltd. and to boost its stake in the company. QBE will acquire Elders Insurance Ltd. and 75 percent of Elders Insurance Agency, Sydney-based QBE said today in a statement.
GPT Group (GPT) fell 3.6 percent to 53 Australian cents. The Australian real estate investment trust will record a writedown of approximately A$1.16 billion in its investment in the joint venture with Babcock & Brown.
Kagara Ltd. (KZL) gained 16 percent to A$1.08. The metals producer forecast zinc output this fiscal year to gain 71 percent because of a plant conversion.
Macmahon Holdings Ltd. (MAH) advanced 8.4 percent to 45 Australian cents. The Australian mining and construction company said it was awarded work by the Australian Rail Track Corporation as part of the A$100 million Ulan Line Alliance program in New South Wales.
Telstra Corp. (TLS) dropped 2.5 percent to A$3.53. Australia’s largest telephone company was downgraded to “underperform” from “neutral” at Credit Suisse Group AG.
Briscoe Group Ltd. (BGR) rose 9.3 percent to NZ$1.18, its biggest since April 7. The New Zealand home-ware and sporting goods retailer said first-half profit may have doubled amid rising sales and falling costs.
Ryman Healthcare Ltd. (RYM) added 3.6 percent to NZ$1.75. New Zealand’s largest publicly traded retirement village owner said it is trading ahead of the year-earlier period and is comfortable with expectations for full-year profit
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