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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares rise as SkyCity meets guidance

MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares rise as SkyCity meets guidance, Fletcher, Hallenstein gain

By Suze Metherell

Feb. 12 (BusinessDesk) – New Zealand stocks rose as SkyCity Entertainment Group met guidance with first-half earnings hurt by a strong kiwi dollar. Hallenstein Glasson Holdings and Fletcher Building led the advance.

The NZX 50 Index gained 21.089 points, or 0.4 percent to 4869.972. Within the index, 23 stocks rose, 20 fell and seven were unchanged. Turnover was $110.9 million.

SkyCity rose 1.4 percent to $3.65. The Auckland-based company reported a net profit $66.4 million, in line with guidance of $65 million to $68 million but down about 8 percent from a year earlier. With casinos in Adelaide and Darwin it said the high kiwi dollar and soft consumer spending on both sides of the Tasman had impacted on profits.

“SkyCity got a fairly good shellacking because of its guidance, but it wasn’t as bad today as people thought it would be,” said David Price, a broker at Forsyth Barr. “What SkyCity alluded to today, which will be a theme throughout reporting season, was the strength of the kiwi against the Aussie dollar.”

New Zealand’s biggest listed company Fletcher rose 2.8 percent to $9.41, near a three-month high. The company counts Australia as its second-largest market and is due to report from Sydney next Thursday. The risk of the high kiwi impacting its returns remains, said Price.

Scott Technology, the industrial automation firm, shed 3.9 percent to $1.75 after it warned a global mining slowdown as well as a high kiwi was squeezing its margins in the short term.

Clothing chain Hallenstein led the index higher today, up 4.9 percent to $2.99. Kathmandu Holdings rose 1.9 percent to $3.15. Warehouse Group slipped 0.6 percent to $3.41.

Lines company Vector slipped 1.3 percent to $2.28. The Commerce Commission plans to review it calculates cost of capital for gas and electricity lines cost their capital after a court ruling last year, Hive News reported. Government-controlled electricity provider MightyRiverPower gained 1.3 percent to $1.99, while Contact Energy was unchanged at $5.20. Meridian Energy gained 0.5 percent to $1.02.

Auckland International Airport fell 0.6 percent to $3.64. Shareholders voted for a return of capital in Auckland today.

Cloud-based accounting software company Xero fell 0.3 percent to $39.90. The Wellington-based firm announced former Microsoft chief financial officer Chris Liddell as new chairman and ex-PayPal executive Peter Karpas to lead its North American unit.

Chorus, contracted to build the nation’s ultra-fast broadband network, fell 1.6 percent to $1.495. The company revised its broadband connection numbers due to a miscount, showing growth of only 1 percent in connections, rather than the earlier reported 2 percent.

Telecom was unchanged at $2.39, while Air New Zealand fell 0.3 percent to $1.695. Sky Network Television rose 0.2 percent to $5.75. Online auction site Trade Me Group climbed 1.9 percent to $3.86.

(BusinessDesk)

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