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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares rise, Hallenstein leads retailers up

MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares rise, Hallenstein leads gains among retailers, earnings awaited

Feb. 17 (BusinessDesk) – New Zealand stocks rose, paced by Hallenstein Glasson Holdings as retail figures showed there was some growth in the sector and as investors focus on earnings season, which peaks this week.

The NZX 50 Index rose 6.588 points, or 0.1 percent, to 4894.988. Within the index, 25 stocks rose, 13 fell and 12 were unchanged. Turnover was a lower-than-average $69.1 million ahead of a public holiday in the US on Monday.

Clothing chain Hallenstein jumped 6.8 percent to $2.83, having tumbled 21 percent so far this year. Government figures showed retail sales rose 1.2 percent in the final quarter of 2013, less than expected, however clothing stores showed growth.

“No doubt those retail figures will help,” said Greg Easton adviser at Craigs Investment Partners. “Hallensteins has been beaten up really badly, so there is probably some bottom feeding.”

New Zealand’s largest listed retailer Warehouse Group rose 0.3 percent to $3.39. Online auction website Trade Me Group gained 1 percent to $3.15 while Restaurant Brands climbed 2.2 percent to $2.80. Outdoor-clothing retailer Kathmandu Holdings rose 1 percent to $3.15.

“Kathmandu has been performing very well and also possibly some encouraging news is that we saw Milford increase its stake in Kathmandu, so that’s given the market a little more confidence,” Easton said.

On Feb. 5, Milford Asset Management disclosed it had lifted its stake in Kathmandu to 7.6 percent from 6.4 percent.

The pressure was on for companies to now deliver on their high stock prices, and investors were closely reading guidance given with earnings, said Easton. “Overall there seems to be more confidence in outlooks in particular because that’s been absent in the last couple of years or so.”

Property For Industry rose 1.2 percent to $1.285. New Zealand’s only listed industrial property landlord reported a 50 percent boost in annual profit after a merger increased the size of its portfolio by two thirds.

“Good to see a positive result from Property For Industry, mostly on the back of a lower tax bill and the merger with Direct Property half way through last year,” said Easton.

Fletcher Building gained 0.6 percent to $9.54. New Zealand’s largest listed company announced it is selling off Pacific Steel to Australia’s largest steelmaker, BlueScope Steel.

Chorus was unchanged at $1.445. The telecommunications network operator has put up an alternative proposal to the Commerce Commission on how its physical copper lines should be priced in a bid to fast-track the process.

“So many people just can’t be bothered with it anymore, they just don’t want to be near anything that has that sort of threat of regulation,” Easton said.

Telecom fell 1.6 percent to $2.42. Auckland International Airport was unchanged at $3.58, as was Air New Zealand at $1.695. Cloud-based accounting software company Xero slid 0.4 percent to $40. Sky Network Television declined 0.5 percent to $5.75.

SkyCity Entertainment Group, which reported earnings last week, rose 0.8 percent to $3.76.


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