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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares gain, on Vital Healthcare, SkyCity

MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares gain, on Vital Healthcare, SkyCity earnings, Heartland leads on acquisition

By Suze Metherell

Feb. 14 (BusinessDesk) – New Zealand stock rose as investors backed companies whose earnings didn’t disappoint. Vital Healthcare Property Trust led the index, paced by SkyCity Entertainment Group. Heartland New Zealand gained after announcing an acquisition of a mortgage company.

The NZX 50 Index rose 14.872 points or 0.3 percent to 4888.40. Within the index 21 shares rose, 19 fell and 10 were unchanged. Turnover was $124.8 million.

SkyCity extended yesterday’s gain rising 1.9 percent to $3.73. The casino operator delivered results on Wednesday that weren’t as bad as the market had expected.

“The stock had been sold down reasonably sharply over the past week,” said Matthew Goodson, who helps manage about $650 million at Salt Funds Management. “The market priced in a low expectation, and bad numbers, but that Adelaide project looks very attractive.”

Vital Healthcare rose 0.8 percent to $1.285. New Zealand’s largest listed medical and healthcare property investor posted a 48 percent lift in its half-year earnings. Three quarters of the trust’s assets are in Australia. The New Zealand dollar has appreciated about 13 percent against the Australian currency over the past year, crimping returns from companies with investments in Australia.

“It was a result dominated by FX and tax,” Goodson said. “A very confusing result with all sorts of currency hedging and also tax hedging. So we spent the day trying to pick through it but it seems relatively in line with its guidance.”

“The high kiwi is more likely to affect June half earnings, as it continues to come through. It is clearly going to be an issue for companies with large Australian arms,” Goodson said.

Brisbane-based jeweller Michael Hill International fell 1.4 percent to $1.38 after reporting first-half fell 26 percent to $16.2 million, in line with its forecast.

Heartland New Zealand led the index higher rising 2.3 percent to 91 cents. The lender announced an acquisition of a New Zealand and Australian home equity release mortgage business, which it expects will add up to $9 million in profit in its first full year following integration.

Telecom gained 1.7 percent to a nine-month high of $2.46.

“Telecom is up on probably a couple of things, one, Telstra had a good bounce following its results, and two, on the hopes of hearing more about future strategy from the company during its earnings,” Goodson said.

Auckland International Airport fell 1 percent to $3.58. Air New Zealand slipped 0.3 percent to $1.695. Fletcher Building, New Zealand’s biggest listed company, gained 0.3 percent to $9.48, while Sky Network Television rose 0.7 percent to $5.78.

Wellington-based Xero fell 0.02 percent to $40.14. The accounting software company will join the NZX 10, replacing infrastructure investment group Infratil on Feb. 24. Infratil was unchanged at $2.19.

Summerset Group Holdings fell 0.3 percent to $3.28. The retirement village operator gained resource consent to build a $55 million resthome in New Plymouth.

Outside the NZX 50, Rakaia-based Synlait Milk fell about 3 percent to $3.59. The dairy processor, which counts China’s Bright Dairy Food as a cornerstone shareholder, says the cost of expanding its laboratory and administration properties will more than double to $21 million.


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