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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares rise as AGMs throw up mixed messages

MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares rise as AGMs throw up mixed messages; Freightways gains

Oct. 28 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand shares rose as more companies addressed their shareholders at annual meetings. Freightways rose to a four-month high after flagging higher profits at their annual meeting yesterday. Sanford fell after saying a high kiwi dollar and lower tuna catch dented earnings.

The NZX 50 rose 22.12, or 0.7 percent, to 3325.60. Within the index, 30 stocks rose, 12 fell and eight were unchanged. Turnover was $102.5 million.

The local benchmark gained as Europe’s deal to tackle debt sent a wave of relief across growth-sensitive securities such as stocks and the New Zealand dollar. Equity markets were broadly stronger across Asia at the 5pm close on the NZX.

Freightways rose 1.2 percent to $3.46, the highest since June 21. Profit rose 19 percent to a record in the first quarter, outpacing a 9 percent gain in sales, the company said at its AGM yesterday.

Freightways’ performance “gives a pretty good tick for New Zealand,” said Rob Mercer, an analyst at Forsyth Barr. A 9 percent rise in revenue from its core packaging business “bodes well.”

Mercer said stocks on the NZX 50 offer a dividend yield of about 7.5 percent, including property stocks yielding 9 percent, while government debt yields almost half that. As the economy picks up pace, shares would offer a capital gain as well as dividends,

Sanford fell 1.6 percent to $4.84. The fishing company said profit was $22 million to $23 million in the 12 months ended Sept. 30, down from $25 million a year earlier. Sales growth was all in the first half, it said.

Fletcher Building, the biggest construction company on the NZX, rose 1.5 percent to $6.71 after naming Tim Richards as chief executive of its building products division, promoting him from manager of the Stramit roll-formed steel business.

Nuplex Industries fell 1.1 percent to $2.63 after announcing the acquisition of a resin manufacturer in Germany which would help lift 2012 earnings by about 10 percent.

It lifted an Australian debt facility to A$300 million from A$200 million to cover the cost of buying Bayer MaterialScience’s Viverso business for 75 million euros, adding resins production in Germany.

EBITDA excluding Viverso and the recently-bought Masterbatch business, would be little changed from a year earlier.

NZ Oil & Gas held unchanged at 70 cents after two days of gains. Michael Hill International rose 2.4 percent to 85 cents.

Tower was the biggest gainer on the index, rising 8.7 percent to $1.37. Goodman Fielder rose 7.4 percent to 73 cents and Kathmandu gained 4.4 percent to $2.40.

Seeka Kiwifruit didn’t trade and was last at 85 cents. The country’s biggest kiwifruit grower forecast a fall in profit and a cut in asset values when they are assessed in December as the Pseudomona Syringae pv actinidiae bacteria ravages more kiwifruit orchards.


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