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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares rise; F&P climbs post earnings

MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares rise; F&P climbs post earnings, paced by TradeMe, Fletcher

By Suze Metherell

May. 26 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand shares rose as Fisher & Paykel Healthcare extended its gains after posting a jump in earnings last Friday. Freightways, Trade Me Group and Nuplex Industries paced the advance.

The NZX 50 Index rose 2.310 points, or 0.05 percent, to 5153.684. Within the index, 18 stocks rose, 19 fell and 13 were unchanged. Turnover was $82.3 million, relatively light ahead of US markets being closed on Monday for Memorial Day.

F&P Healthcare advanced 2.6 percent to $4.34. On Friday the breathing apparatus manufacturer, which exports 98 percent of its product to the US, said full year profit rose 26 percent to $97.1 million but flagged earnings growth may stall in 2015 as a high New Zealand dollar continues to crimp its US revenue.

"The market seems to be taking in its stride that essentially they were going to be flat for full-year 2015 with the exchange rate this way," said James Smalley, director at Hamilton Hindin Greene. "Investors are looking at more the trend rather than a one off earnings for next year."

Freightways rose 2 percent to $5.05. Trade Me Group, the online auction site, advanced 2 percent to $3.63. Nuplex, the resins maker, advanced 1.2 percent to $3.44. Fletcher Building, New Zealand's largest listed company, rose 0.4 percent to $9.20.

Pacific Edge fell 1 percent to 98 cents, having surged as much as 12 percent in intraday trading, after it announced a deal to provide its non-invasive bladder cancer test to MultiPlan, a US healthcare manager which has access to an estimated 68 million patients. The news gave brief relief to the Dunedin-based biotech company which has declined 58 percent since joining the NZX 50 Index in March.

"A very good win for the company," Smalley said. "The irony is on good news if you want to move volume as a seller that's the best time to do it because that's when you get the buyers coming in. As a whole a little bit of heat has come out of the growth-is-good story, so maybe investors aren't willing to pay those really high prices - they'd like to see a more tangible sign that the business is doing well," Smalley said.

Diligent Board Member Services was the worst performer on the day, down 2.3 percent to $4.20. Xero, the cloud-based accounting software company, fell 0.9 percent to $32.30. Mainfreight declined 2.3 percent to $13.04.

Telecom was unchanged at $2.67.

Off the bourse, two companies released the IPO documents as they get ready to list on the NZX. Gentrack, the utility and airport software company, said it will use cash raised in its IPO to become debt free and look at acquisitions of up to $20 million to add compatible software or enter new markets. Serko, the online business travel booking company, said it was seeking up to $22 million in its IPO to fund growth aspirations across the Asia Pacific region

"Its hopefully showing signs that the IPO way of raising capital, or quite often it can be a way of owners of the business to crystalise some of their investment, is seeming a lot more mainstream now," Smalley said.

Outside the benchmark index, Intueri, the private education and training provider which debuted on the NZX last Friday, fell 1.5 percent to $2.56.

Pumpkin Patch fell 2 percent to 49 cents, having touched an intraday record low of 47 cents. On Friday the children's clothing retail chain warned full year profits after tax but before reorganisation costs would contract to between $1 million and $3 million, compared to $8.5 million the previous year as it struggles to boost sales in a highly competitive environment.

Wynyard Group rose 1.8 percent to $2.31 after the security software firm said it expects annual sales will be 15 percent higher than the prospectus forecast, and is looking at potential acquisitions to drive faster growth.

Hellaby Holdings, whose interests range from footwear to oil and gas services, dropped 0.7 percent to $2.90 after it said full-year profit may rise 35 percent on improved performance of four of its five divisions.

Acurity Health Group, the private hospital operator formerly known as Wakefield Health, rose 1.9 percent to 5.35 after it beat guidance boosting annual profit 55 percent to $9.1 million.

(BusinessDesk)

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