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MARKET CLOSE: NZX 50 at record close; A2, Diligent rise

MARKET CLOSE: NZX 50 at record close; A2, Diligent, Xero up on growth stories

April 24 (BusinessDesk) – New Zealand’s benchmark NZX 50 Index rose to a record close, as investors were lured to growth stories such as A2 Corp, Diligent Board Member Services and Xero. Warehouse Group rose to a 2 ½-year high after selling a shopping centre at a profit.

The NZX 50 rose 22.48 points, or 0.5 percent, to 4538.98. Within the index, 26 stocks rose, 16 fell and eight were unchanged. Turnover was $214 million.

A2 Corp, the alternative milk marketer that joined the NZX 50 on March 18, rose 6.8 percent to 63 cents, leading the market higher. The company this week launched its Platinum infant formula brand which is targeting the Chinese market.

Diligent, whose software helps directors manage corporate governance information flows, rose 3.5 percent to a record close of $7.12. This month it posted an 84 percent jump in first-quarter sales. Xero, the cloud-based accounting company, rose 5.3 percent to $13, also a record close. Earlier this month it announced a doubling in annual sales.

James Lindsay, equities manager at Tyndall Investment Management, said new investors in the stock market have been heartened by the strong performance of recent arrivals to the market including the Fonterra Shareholders’ Fund.

“The optimism is out there,” Lindsay said. The New Zealand market has “companies with reasonable balance sheets, good growth stories and sustainable yields.”

Warehouse rose 2.6 percent to $3.98, the highest close since November 2010, after announcing the $78 million sale of Auckland’s Silverdale Centre to DNZ Property Fund for a pretax gain of between $14 million and $15 million. DNZ slipped 0.8 percent to $1.78.

Air New Zealand, the state-owned airline, rose 5.6 percent to $1.52 after saying annual earnings will more than double this year.

Fonterra Shareholders’ Fund rose 1.7 percent to $7.22 after the dairy giant announced a management shakeup at its key Asia Pacific/Middle East/Africa (APMEA) unit.

Sky Network Television, the nation’s pay-TV operator, rose 1.9 percent to $5.46. Freightways gained 2.7 percent to $4.59.

Fletcher Building, the biggest company on the NZX 50, rose 0.6 percent to $8.71 and Telecom fell 1.5 percent to $2.61.

Ryman Healthcare rose 0.7 percent to $5.68, edging back toward the record close of $5.71 reached last week. Rival retirement village operator Summerset Group fell 0.7 percent to $2.97.

Fisher & Paykel Healthcare, which gets more than 50 percent of its sales in US dollars, fell 0.8 percent to $2.64 after the kiwi dollar gained in the wake of the Reserve Bank’s interest rate review, which didn’t include a strident attack on the strength of the currency that some traders had expected.

(BusinessDesk)

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