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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares extend rally; Xero at record

MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares extend rally; Xero at record, Metlifecare at 5-month high

Oct. 22 (BusinessDesk) – New Zealand shares extended their rally, pushing the NZX 50 Index to an all-time high, as newly capitalised Xero closed at a new record and Metlifecare gained to the highest in five months after its biggest shareholder confirmed the sale of its stake.

The NZX 50 rose 29.232 points, or 0.6 percent, to 4831.789. Within the index, 20 stocks rose, 18 fell and 12 were unchanged. Turnover was $141 million.

Xero, the cloud-based accounting company whose US shareholders are bankrolling its assault on the US market, climbed 6.8 percent to $28.30. That gives the company, which is yet to make a profit, a market value of $3.61 billion.

Metlifecare rose 2.8 percent to $3.70, the highest since May 7. Australia’s Retirement Villages Group, the biggest shareholder, said this week it has hired Goldman Sachs to sell its 37.7 percent stake in the company. Rival operator Ryman Healthcare rose 1.9 percent to a record $7.41.

That stake “will certainly have some impact if it hits the market,” said James Lee, head of institutional equities at First NZ Capital. “That will remove all that overhang.”

PGG Wrightson, the rural services company controlled by Agria Corp, was unchanged at 39 cents after naming the Chinese company’s founder Alan Lai as its new chairman, replacing John Anderson, and forecasting a lift in full-year operating earnings

Kathmandu, the outdoor equipment retailer, rose 2.2 percent to $3.67.

Fletcher Building gained 1.4 percent to $9.64 after the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment announced plans for an ‘all of government’ procurement of building materials to take the sting out of an annual $3.3 billion spend in the next five to eight years. The government expects to ramp up its construction spending over that period because of the Canterbury rebuild and to deal with outstanding leaky-homes work.

Telecom Corp fell 0.2 percent to $2.275 after the telecommunications company confirmed it’s looking at selling its under-performing AAPT unit in Australia, though didn’t respond to speculation it may also exit its 10 percent stake in Hutchison Telecommunications Australia.

Vector was unchanged at $2.61 after chairman Michael Stiassny told shareholders at today’s annual meeting that it was looking at opportunities in Australia as opposed to acquisitions in New Zealand because local tax laws favoured foreign investment.

Dual-listed APN News & Media gained 6.5 percent to 49 cents on the NZX after it agreed to sell its remaining 48 percent stake in APN Outdoors for A$69 million, a premium to the A$51.6 million carrying value attributed to the investment in its first-half report.

Pacific Edge soared 47 percent to a record $1.06 after it signed its second deal in as many weeks with a US healthcare network provider, giving it access to 44 million people in the world’s biggest economy.


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