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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares gain on upbeat Australian figures

MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares gain on upbeat Australian figures; Fletcher, Ebos rise

By Suze Metherell

Feb. 11 (BusinessDesk) – New Zealand stocks rose as earnings growth from Australia & New Zealand Banking Group and signs of an improving Australian economy lifted sentiment on companies doing business across the Tasman, such as Fletcher Building and Ebos Group.

The NZX 50 Index gained 15.825 points, 0.3 percent to 4848.883. Within the index, 23 stocks rose, 22 fell, five unchanged. Turnover was $105.2 million.

The nation’s biggest bank ANZ jumped 3 percent to $33.22. Positive sentiment in Australia grew as the bank posted a 13 percent gain in first-quarter cash profit, putting it on track to extend five years of record profits, while National Australia Bank’s business confidence survey rose in January for the first time in four months. Westpac Banking Group gained 0.6 percent to $34.30 on the NZX.

“They’re all still talking a bad game across the ditch but it doesn’t seem to be happening,” Greg Easton an adviser at Craigs Investment Partners said. “The way they’re talking you’d expect they’re about to have a long-term recession, but Australia’s economy is growing by 2 percent.”

New Zealand’s largest listed company, Fletcher Building, gained 1.9 percent to $9.15 after figures showed Australia’s residential property prices gained 9.3 percent in 2013. Healthcare and animal care maker Ebos rose 0.5 percent to $9.70. Last year the company significantly expanded its interest across the Tasman acquiring Australian pharmaceuticals firm Symbion for $1.1 billion.

Melbourne-based miner OceanaGold led the market higher, soaring 9 percent to $2.67. The spot gold price rose to a near three-month high of US$1,287.01 an ounce. New Talisman Gold Mines rose 18 percent to 1.3 cents.

SkyCity Entertainment Group fell 1.6 percent to $3.60, its lowest price this year. The casino operator reports its earnings tomorrow, after warning its profit has been hurt by the high kiwi against the Australian dollar.

Auckland International Airport slipped 0.8 percent to $3.66. Air New Zealand fell 0.3 percent to $1.70, while Sky Network Television was unchanged at $5.74. Telecom gained 0.6 percent to $2.39 and online auction website Trade Me Group gained 0.8 percent to $3.79. Wellington-based cloud accounting software company Xero rose 1.3 percent to $40.

New Zealand’s largest listed retailer Warehouse Group slipped 0.6 percent to $3.43 and clothing chain Hallenstein Glasson Holdings fell 1.7 percent to $2.85. Outdoor apparel maker Kathmandu Holdings slid 0.6 percent to $3.09.

Outside of the NZX 50 children’s wear retailer Pumpkin Patch sunk 10 percent to 60 cents. Yesterday Paymark, which processes 75 percent of New Zealand’s electronic transactions, said clothing and apparel was lagging behind the rest of the retail sector.

Kirkcaldie & Stains, the upscale department store, jumped about 15 percent to $2.29 a day after announcing it has put its CBD office tower up for sale.

(BusinessDesk)

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