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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares follow Wall St rally; Xero, a2 gain

MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares follow Wall St rally; Xero, a2, Diligent gain in tech rebound

By Suze Metherell

May 13 (BusinessDesk) – New Zealand shares rose after tech stocks rebounded on Wall Street, stoking investor appetite kiwi growth companies such as Xero, a2 Milk Co and Diligent Board Member Services. Infratil climbed after earnings met expectations.

The NZX 50 Index rose 36.919 points, or 0.7 percent, to 5199.342. Within the index, 25 stocks rose, 14 fell and 11 were unchanged. Turnover was lighter than usual at $85.6 million.

Stocks rose on Wall Street, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average and Standard & Poor’s 500 index closing at records, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index climbed to its highest level since January. Shares in Twitter, Facebook, Yahoo! and Netflix all rose.

Local growth stocks followed the offshore lead. Xero, the cloud-based accounting firm, advanced 2.6 percent to $31.40. A2 Milk climbed 2.6 percent to 78 cents. Diligent, the governance app developer, rose 0.7 percent to $4.44.

“Those overseas’ cues, like the Dow Jones up, have flowed through to our market,” said James Smalley, director at Hamilton Hindin Greene. “With the two leading stocks in the top 50 being a2 and Xero, that’s normally an indication investors are feeling willing to take on a bit more risk.”

Infratil increased 2.2 percent to $2.34 after the infrastructure investor said its full-year pretax earnings dropped 5.3 percent to $500 million, meeting guidance. The company holds the controlling stake in energy company TrustPower, which reported weaker full-year earnings last week. TrustPower shares slipped 0.7 percent to $7.00.

Infratil "is a stock that has been underperforming the whole market for a while, so perhaps now it’s put the results out there in black and white we might see a bit of catch up from that company,” Smalley said.

Metlifecare, the retirement village operator in which Infratil holds a 19.9 percent stake, rose 0.5 percent to $4.22.

Rival retirement village developer Ryman Healthcare led the benchmark index higher, up 3 percent to $8.90, ahead of reporting full year earnings on Thursday. Summerset Group Holdings fell 0.6 percent to $3.56.

Telecom, New Zealand’s largest telecommunications provider, rose 1.7 percent to $2.685. Fletcher Building, the nation’s largest listed company, climbed 0.8 percent to $9.39. Auckland International Airport fell 0.2 percent to $4.11. Port of Tauranga increased 1.4 percent to $14.35.

MightyRiverPower, the state-controlled energy company, gained 0.2 percent to $2.23 after it announced Matthew Olde, who steered the company through its initial public offering, will become chief executive of its smart meter company, Metrix.

Fellow partially-privatised electricity generator-retailer Meridian Energy fell 0.8 percent to $1.19. Contact Energy advanced 0.2 percent to $2.23. Auckland lines company Vector rose 2 percent to $2.54. Outside the benchmark index, Genesis Energy, the final power company to be partially privatised by the government last month, advanced 0.3 percent to $1.825.

Chorus, the telecommunications network provider, was the day’s worst performer down 2 percent to $1.68. Pacific Edge, the Dunedin-based biotech company, fell 1.8 percent to $1.09.

Outside the benchmark index, Wynyard Group, the security software firm, rose 0.5 percent to $2.23. SLI Systems, the search engine developer, slid 3.1 percent to $1.85 and NZAX-listed GeoOp, the small business task-manager app maker, fell 3.7 percent to $1.55.

(BusinessDesk)

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