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MARKET CLOSE: NZX 50 above 5000; Infratil, Air NZ gain

MARKET CLOSE: NZX 50 closes above 5000; Infratil, Air NZ extend gains

By Suze Metherell

March 3 (BusinessDesk) – New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index rose to a record, closing above 5000 for the first time as Infratil missed out on the $950 million acquisition and Air New Zealand extended gains to reach a six-year high after its results last week.

The NZX 50 Index rose 17.366 points, or 0.3 percent, to 5007.404, the first time it has exceeded 5000 since being introduced as a replacement for the NZSE 40 in 2003. Within the index, 17 stocks rose, 26 fell and seven were unchanged. Turnover was $94 million.

Infratil rose 2.1 percent to $2.245. The Wellington-based infrastructure investor had been in the running to buy Transpacific Industries’ New Zealand waste management operations, but lost out to Chinese state-owned Beijing Capital Group, which still needs regulatory approvals. Dual-listed Transpacific was unchanged at $1.40 on the NZX, and rose 0.2 percent to A$1.177 on the ASX.

“The market was a bit concerned that they might overpay for the asset and now that they’ve missed out the market is thinking that’s a good thing,” said James Smalley, director at Hamilton Hindin Greene.

Air New Zealand rose 1.4 percent to $1.80. Last week the national carrier lifted first-half earnings by controlling costs and said full-year profit would rise more than 17 percent while rival Qantas Airways posted a A$252 million loss and announced plans to sack 5,000 workers.

“It is partly Qantas, but it’s also a reflection of what the market saw as a pretty good result and now Air New Zealand is up at the highest it’s been since essentially pre-GFC, 2008 levels,” Smalley said.

Xero, the accounting software company, led the day’s gainers rising 3.4 percent to $41.50, paced by Ryman Healthcare up 1.9 percent to $8.05 and Sky Network Television up 1.1 percent to $6.19. New Zealand’s biggest listed company Fletcher Building rose 0.3 percent to $9.45.

Chorus slipped 0.3 percent to $1.52, as an offshore substantial shareholder sold off their stock as the threat of further regulation for the network provider deters foreign investors, said Smalley. Chorus is in negotiations with Crown Fibre Holdings over the pricing of New Zealand’s ultrafast broadband network and will be forced to cut prices on its copper network by the Commerce Commission.

A2 Corp slipped 1.1 percent to 93 cents while retirement village operator Summerset Group Holdings fell 0.9 percent to $3.37, as investors took the opportunity for some profit taking after the stock’s positive earnings.

Diligent Board Members Services slipped 0.6 percent to $4.82 after the company restated its accounts last week.

Auckland International Airport rose 0.3 percent to $3.75, casino operator SkyCity Entertainment Group was unchanged at $3.93. Telecom gained 0.4 percent to $2.51.

Outside the benchmark index, Snakk Media, which matches advertisers with apps and social media, slid 9.8 percent to 11 cents after reporting third quarter sales were crimped by the high kiwi against the Australian dollar.

New Zealand Refining was unchanged at $1.75. The Whangarei-based company said it raised $48 million in a placement of new shares. Pyne Gould Corp was unchanged at 43 cents as the asset management firm posted a first-half loss on foreign exchange charges.


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