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MARKET CLOSE: NZ stocks rise; Pyne Gould leads gainers

MARKET CLOSE: NZ stocks rise; Pyne Gould leads gainers, Westpac falls

By Jason Krupp

April 29 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand stocks rose to fresh near-three year high, sidestepping declines on Asia Pacific markets with Pyne Gould Corp. leading gainers on the exchange. Westpac Banking Corp fell.

The NZX 50 Index rose 15.56 points, or 0.4%, to 3,519.32, the highest level since June 2008. Within the index, 30 stocks rose, 13 fell, and seven were unchanged. Turnover was $131.3 million, as traders squared off their books for the end of the month.

Pyne Gould, the financial services company, rose 6.7% to 32 cents, amid investor expectations of a cash boost when it sells some of its 18.3% stake in rural services company PGG Wrightson Ltd to Agria Corp.

The Singaporean company earlier this week said it was in the process of determining what portion of shares it will buy from each Wrightson shareholder who accepted its offer of 60 cents a share having received acceptances far exceeding the 50.1% originally sought. Wrightson fell 2% to 49 cents.

"They won't have a problem disposing of the remaining portion," said Rickey Ward, domestic equities manager at Tyndall Investment Management. "They can either place the stake to the open market, or distribute it to shareholders."

Vector Ltd., the Auckland electricity and gas distributor, rose 3.2% to $2.56
as interest in high yielding stocks spiked after the Reserve Bank kept interest rates on hold at record low 2.5%. Vector has a dividend yield of 8.7%.

"Appetite for risk has increased which is not surprising when you have low income rates that are expected to stay low, so investors are looking for revenue elsewhere," Ward said.

Nuplex Industries Ltd., the industrial chemical and resin manufacturer also viewed as a yield stock, rose 2.8% to $3.26.

Goodman Fielder Ltd., the Australian food ingredient manufacturer, rose 2.8% to $1.48, recovering some of the ground it lost yesterday after the company said full-year net profit is likely to fall A$30 million-to-$40 million short of previous forecasts.

The trans-Tasman food giant said net profit for the year ending June 30 will be between A$140 million and A$150 million, down from the A$183.5 million level previously flagged.

Westpac Banking Corp., the Australian lender, fell 2% to $33.70, leading decliners on the NZX 50. The stock is rates as 'hold' according to a consensus view of 17 analysts compiled by Reuters.

Cavalier Corp., the listed carpet maker, fell 1.7% to $3.50. The company warned shareholders that they may be approached by opportunistic share buyer Bernard Whimp with an unsolicited offer after he requested a copy of the company's share register.

Fisher Paykel Healthcare Corp., the manufacturer of respirators and breathing masks, fell 1.3% to $3.09, with the strength of the New Zealand dollar weighing on the stock. The company earns over 70% of its revenue in U.S. dollars.

New Zealand Oil & Gas Ltd., the energy exploration and production company, fell 1% to 97 cents after it announced that reduced output from the Kupe oil and gas field will cost it between $5 million and $6 million in the current financial year.

OceanaGold Corp., which operates the Reefton and Macraes goldfields, fell 3.2% to $3.60 after it reported an 87% jump in first quarter revenue to US$90.7 million and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of US$44.0 million, on the back of the surging gold price.

Net earnings for the three months ending March 31 were US$14.8 million, compared with US$1.8 million in the same period last year.

Kirkcaldie & Stains Ltd., the Wellington department store, was unchanged at $2.55 after first-half profit almost halved due to the disruption caused by the earthquake strengthening of its Harbour City Centre building.

The listed retailer said net profit for the six months ended February 28 fell to $380,000 from $725,000 in the same six months a year earlier.


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