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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares rise, paced by property stocks

MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares snap 5 day slide; property stocks rise

By Suze Metherell

May. 22 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand shares rose after a five day slide gave investors confidence to buy companies offering dependable returns such as Argosy Property, Precinct Properties New Zealand, Goodman Property Trust and Kiwi Income Property Trust.

The NZX 50 Index rose 20.267 points, or 0.4 percent, to 5128.840. Within the index, 28 shares rose, 13 fell and nine were unchanged. Turnover was $143 million.

Volatility in US markets in recent months, particularly in high growth and tech stocks where investors have questioned high valuations relative to earnings, has lead to greater risk aversion in equity markets, said Grant Williamson, director at Hamilton Hindin Greene. "That has caused some investors to re-think things and put a higher portion of their funds in more conservative assets."

Argosy rose 1.1 percent to 96.5 cents. Precinct Properties advanced 1 percent to $1.055. Goodman Property climbed 0.5 percent to $1.05 and Kiwi Income increased 0.4 percent to $1.165.

"We have seen investors take a little bit more of a conservative stance in the last couple of weeks and we are now starting to see the property trusts come back into focus, they had been underperforming for a number of months," Williamson said. "But most of them have reported pretty good results in recent days."

Steel & Tube Holdings led the index higher, up 4.1 percent to $3.08. Air New Zealand, the national carrier, rose 1.6 percent to $2.17, while Fletcher Building, New Zealand's largest listed company, advanced 1.4 percent to $9.17. Port of Tauranga climbed 1 percent to $14.44 and Telecom increased 1.1 percent to $2.69. Ryman Healthcare rose 1.2 percent to $8.40.

Heartland New Zealand rose 2.3 percent to 89 cents, after international credit rating agency Standard & Poor's upgraded the lender's long term credit rating one notch to a BBB rating.

Chorus fell 2.3 percent to $1.71 after the Commerce Commission extended the deadline for its final decision on the telecommunications network operator's copper pricing.

"The share price was just starting to gain some traction from presentations that the company was making but that was all shot down following this morning's announcement that there is going to be a longer time for the determination," Williamson said.

DNZ Property Fund, the sixth-biggest property stock on the NZX 50 Index by market capitalisation, was unchanged at $1.60 after it posted an 8.7 percent drop in annual profit after writing down the value of some Wellington and Auckland holdings.

Outside the benchmark index, Rakon, whose shares have shed 86 percent of their value in the past five years, fell 2.3 percent to 21.5 cents after its annual loss more than doubled due to write-downs on the value of the firm's assets and increased spending on restructuring the ailing business.

"The result hasn't come as a big surprise, but it's pretty disappointing to see that this former high flyer has hit pretty hard times," Williamson said.

Comvita gained 9.4 percent to $3.50 after the health products maker bought a honey producer for $12.3 million to strength its security of supply.

Dorchester Pacific climbed 6.7 percent to 24 cents after the financial services firm beat annual earnings guidance and reinstated dividends for the first time in seven years.

Energy Mad, the efficient light bulb maker, was unchanged at 36 cents after it flagged a $1.4 million impairment ahead of reporting its full-year results next week.


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