Australia, N.Z. Stocks: BHP, James Hardie, Mirabela, Woodside

Friday, Dec 03, 2010

Dec. 3 (Bloomberg) -- Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index rose for a third day, gaining 0.7 percent to 4,711 as of 10:28 a.m. in Sydney. The gauge is headed for its first weekly advance in four. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index rose 0.4 percent to 3,298.25 in Wellington, set for a 1.1 percent weekly gain.

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

Mining shares: Copper futures for March delivery climbed 0.8 percent to close at $3.979 a pound at 1:21 p.m. in New York yesterday, the fourth straight gain.

BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP AU), the world’s largest mining company, rose 1 percent to A$44.78. Rio Tinto Group (RIO AU), the world’s third-biggest miner, gained 1.8 percent to A$86.55. Mirabela Nickel Ltd. (MBN AU) jumped 7 percent to A$1.91 after the metal’s price rose for a third day in London trading yesterday.

Oil producers: Crude rose to a two-year high in New York yesterday after European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet said the bank will delay its withdrawal of stimulus measures, and pending sales of existing U.S. homes jumped by a record.

Woodside Petroleum Ltd. (WPL AU), Australia’s second- biggest oil and gas producer, climbed 0.6 percent to A$42.31. Rival Santos Ltd. (STO AU) added 1 percent to A$12.69.

Ardent Leisure Group Ltd. (AAD AU), a trust that invests in Australian leisure and entertainment properties, gained 1 percent to A$1.035 after extending A$240 million ($234 million) of debt facilities, according to a regulatory filing.

James Hardie Industries SE (JHX AU), the biggest seller of home siding in the U.S. gained 4.1 percent to A$6.08 after reports showed purchases of existing homes in the U.S. unexpectedly jumped and retail sales topped analysts’ estimates.

Qantas Airways Ltd. (QAN AU) added 0.8 percent to A$2.66. Australia’s largest airline began talks with Rolls-Royce Group Plc aimed at recouping financial losses from the grounding of its Airbus SAS A380 fleet after an engine malfunction last month, the carrier said, adding it may sue if a settlement can’t be reached.

Nufarm Ltd. (NUF AU) rose 0.8 percent to A$4.84. Australia’s largest supplier of farm chemicals had its stock rating raised to “buy” from “hold” by analysts at Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc.

--Editor: John McCluskey.

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