Jan. 4 (Bloomberg) -- Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 2.1 percent to 4,187.80 at the close of trade in Sydney today. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index rose 0.4 percent to 3,288.11 in Wellington, the first day this year the exchange has traded.
The following were among the most active shares in the market today. Stock symbols are in parentheses after company names.
Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA AU) gained 0.8 percent to A$49.99 in Sydney. Australia’s largest lender is one of three of the nation’s so-called pillar lenders planning to sell their first covered bonds in euros, tapping the market as Europe’s crisis saps demand for all but the highest-rated securities. Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. (ANZ AU) gained 1.6 percent to A$21.02.
BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP AU) rose 4.1 percent to A$36.22 in Sydney. The world’s largest mining company gained after commodities posted the biggest rally in almost eight months on speculation that increased factory output from China to the U.S. heralds rising raw-material demand. The Standard & Poor’s GSCI Spot Index of 24 commodities rose 3.4 percent in New York yesterday. Rio Tinto Group (RIO AU) climbed 2.9 percent to A$63.15.
Insurance Australia Group Ltd. (IAG AU) gained 0.7 percent to A$3.05. The Sydney based insurer formed in 1925 said it has finalized its 2012 catastrophe reinsurance cover, providing protection of as much as A$4.7 billion, compared with A$4.1 billion in 2011.
Lynas Corp. (LYC AU) jumped 2.3 percent to A$1.115. Malaysia’s Atomic Energy Board received an application from the rare-earths developer for a temporary operating license in the Southeast Asian nation where it is building a refinery, the Malaysian government said.
Newcrest Mining Ltd. (NCM AU) rose 1.1 percent to A$31.03. Australia’s largest gold producer gained after futures for the metal jumped the most in 10 weeks in New York trade yesterday on demand for a haven following a report that Iran produced its first nuclear-fuel rod.
Qantas Airways Ltd. (QAN AU) advanced 4.4 percent to A$1.545. The nation’s largest carrier said about 150 of its more than 2,000 pilots were on unpaid leave following capacity cuts.
Santos Ltd. (STO AU), an energy company, gained 2.5 percent to A$12.65 after oil futures climbed as much as 4.1 percent in New York yesterday. Woodside Petroleum Ltd. (WPL AU) added 2.3 percent to A$31.40.
--Editors: John McCluskey, Jason Clenfield
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