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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares rise in light holiday trading

MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares rise in light holiday trading; Fletcher, Hellaby gain

Dec. 27 (BusinessDesk) – New Zealand stocks rose in light holiday trading, helped by gains in Fletcher Building, with US fiscal cliff negotiations likely to be the focus through the year end. Hellaby Holdings rose after agreeing to buy a maintenance and industrial cleaning business.

The NZX 50 Index rose 7.627 points, or 0.2 percent, to 4065.447. Within the index, 20 stocks rose, 18 fell and 13 were unchanged. Turnover was a lower-than-average $46 million.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index led equity markets higher across the Asia Pacific region, rising 0.9 percent in early afternoon trading, as the government signalled its intention to do more to weaken the yen and stoke the world’s third-largest economy. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 0.2 percent.

“Investors are still looking for signs politicians are getting closer to some sort of agreement” in Washington,” said Grant Williamson, a director at Hamilton Hindin Greene. “Our market is overall up but there’s no news to speak of apart from Hellabys. A lot of participants are not looking at their screens.”

Hellaby rose 4.9 percent to $3.20 after the diversified investment company agreed to buy 85 percent of Contract Resources for $73 million plus debt after a search of almost two years for a suitable asset.

Contract Resources "has a pretty strong growth profile,” Williamson said. “It represents further diversification within their portfolio.”

Fletcher, the biggest company on the exchange, rose 1.8 percent to $8.45, bringing its advance this year to 34 percent. The stock is rated ‘outperform’ based on the consensus of 11 analyst recommendations compiled by Reuters.

Diligent Board Member Services, whose software helps company directors keep track of business, fell 1.6 percent to $5.44 as some investors locked in gained following its 183 percent surge this year.

Pacific Edge, which is marketing a test kit for bladder cancer, rose 11 percent to 50 cents. The Otago Daily Times named chief executive David Darling as its Business Leader of the Year and he told the newspaper in an interview that the company would extend its global expansion over the next 12 to 18 months.

Hallenstein Glasson Holdings, the clothing chain, was the biggest decliner on the NZX 50, falling 1.8 percent to $5.40, even after Paymark figures showed a 13.4 percent jump in Boxing Day consumer spending versus the same day last year. Warehouse Group, the biggest retailer on the benchmark index, was unchanged at $3.

Skellerup Holdings, which manufactures milking equipment and rubber goods, rose 3.3 percent to $1.58, the biggest gain on the NZX 50 today. Cavalier, the carpet maker, rose 3.1 percent to $1.67.

(BusinessDesk)

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