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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares mixed; Diligent, Air NZ gain

MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares mixed; Diligent, Air NZ gain, Fletcher falls

Nov. 19 (BusinessDesk) – New Zealand shares were mixed, with market heavyweights Fletcher Building and Telecom pulling the NZX 50 Index lower, while Air New Zealand paced gainers after confirming it topped up its holding in Virgin Australia to avoid being diluted.

The NZX 50 fell 5.23 points, or 0.1 percent, to 3942.60. Within the index, 18 stocks rose, 16 fell and 16 were unchanged. Turnover was a higher-than-average $155 million.

Air New Zealand rose 2.1 percent to $1.23 saying it has kept its stake in partner airline Virgin Australia, buying 49.1 million shares to retain ownership at 19.99 percent after Singapore Airlines joined the shareholder register.

Diligent Board Member Services rose 2.8 percent to a record close of $4.38following its announcement last week that revenue soared 145 percent in the three months to Sept. 30 and margins widened as the company's corporate governance product begins to gain scale in key markets.

Xero, the cloud-based accounting service, rose 2.4 percent to $5.99, recovering some of the ground lost last week when it said it would chase sales growth at the expense of profits.

Diligent and Xero “are both still being looked at by a number of market players,” said Paul Valk, an adviser at Craigs Investment Partners.

He said funds are flowing into the stock market from the maturation of bonds from corporates including ANZ Bank, Guinness Peat Group and Prime Infrastructure, as well as money being reinvested after Haier acquired F&P Appliances.

Fletcher, the biggest construction and building products group on the exchange, fell 0.9 percent to $7.38. Telecom, the biggest phone company on the NZX 50, fell 0.4 percent to $2.38.

Cavalier, the carpet maker, rose 5.2 percent to $1.63, gaining from a four-month low plumbed last week when it cut its full-year earnings guidance after a slow start in the first quarter and demand in the Australian market that didn’t recover as expected.

Kathmandu, the outdoor equipment chain, rose 1.1 percent to $1.87. last week the company said first-quarter sales rose 19.5 percent in the first quarter, with Christmas and New Year sales key to earnings growth.

PGG Wrightson, the rural services company, fell 3 percent to 32 cents. Vector, the Auckland-based power and gas lines company, fell 1.9 percent to $2.66.

Nuplex Industries, the specialty chemicals manufacturer, rose 1.7 percent to $2.95 and Mainfreight, the transport and logistics company, gained 1.1 percent to $10.70.

NPT, the property investor, fell 1.6 percent to 61 cents. returned to profit in the first half, reflecting an increase in the value of its rejuvenated Eastgate Shopping Centre in Christchurch after the value of property tumbled in the year earlier period.

Profit in the six months ended Sept. 30 was $8.77 million, from a loss of $9.83 million a year earlier, helped by property revaluations. Rental income fell to $5.6 million from $9.1 million.

(BusinessDesk)

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