market update from bloomberg

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    Australian Stocks Climb, Led by BHP, Rio Tinto and Newcrest

    Sept. 16 (Bloomberg) -- Australian stocks rose for a fourth day in five, led by BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto Group, after UBS AG raised its rating for the mining companies on rising prices for commodities.

    The S&P/ASX 200 Index climbed 27.10, or 0.6 percent, to 4541.0 as of 10:11 a.m. in Sydney. About five stocks rose for every stock that fell. The benchmark is heading for a record close.

    New Zealand's NZX 50 Index gained 0.1 percent to 3420.64 as of 12:32 p.m. in Wellington.

    BHP Billiton, the world's biggest mining company, added 28 cents, or 1.4 percent, to A$20.98. It's 1.2 percent from its record high on Aug. 22. Rio Tinto, the No. 3 mining company, gained 97 cents, or 1.9 percent, to a record A$53.41.

    Both stocks were raised to ``buy'' from ``neutral'' at UBS as the brokerage increased its long-term estimates for iron ore and oil.

    The S&P/ASX 200 Index's futures contract for September added 0.6 percent to 4553. The broader All Ordinaries Index rose 0.6 percent to 4490.80.

    The following shares also rose or fell. The stock symbols are in brackets after the company names.

    Australian stocks:

    Gold stocks: Gold prices climbed 1.2 percent to the highest in 17 years in New York, extending a rally begun in July, as investors stocked up on bullion they expect will provide a haven against high consumer prices and energy costs.

    Newcrest Mining Ltd. (NCM AU), Australia's biggest gold mining company, surged 45 cents, or 2.4 percent, to A$19.25. Oxiana Ltd. (OXR AU), the second biggest, climbed 2.5 cents, or 2.1 percent, to A$1.23.

    Nickel stocks: Nickel prices fell 6.6 percent to a nine-month low in London after inventories increased, indicating production may be exceeding demand for the metal which is mostly used to make stainless steel.

    Minara Resources Ltd. (MRE AU), Australia's second-biggest nickel producer, slid 1.5 cents, or 0.9 percent, to A$1.73. Jubilee Mines NL (JBM AU) dropped 8 cents, or 1.1 percent, to A$7.20.

    Oil-related stocks: Crude oil prices in New York fell for the fourth session in five, dropping 0.5 percent to $64.75 a barrel, on lower U.S. demand for gasoline and other oil-based fuels.

    Woodside Petroleum Ltd. (WPL AU), Australia's second-biggest oil producer, fell 17 cents, or 0.5 percent, to A$32.55.

    Qantas Airways Ltd. (QAN AU), Australia's biggest airline, added 2 cents, or 0.6 percent, to A$3.35. Fuel costs make up about 15 percent of the airline's costs.

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