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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares gain, led by Diligent, Fletcher

MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares gain, led by Diligent, Fletcher; Goodman Fielder falls

By Jonathan Underhill

July 2 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand shares rose, joining a rally across the Asia-Pacific region after manufacturing data stoked optimism about global growth. Diligent Board Member Services and Xero led gains among tech stocks. Goodman Fielder fell after its board agreed to a reduced takeover offer.

The NZX 50 Index rose 3.123 points, or 0.1 percent, to 5149.385. Within the index, 19 shares rose, 24 fell and seven were unchanged. Turnover was $117 million.

Gains in the local market lagged behind the region's rally, with Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index climbing 1.3 percent in late afternoon trading and Japan's Nikkei 225 Index up 0.3 percent. An extended slide in dairy prices, New Zealand's biggest export commodity, may have dented the appeal of the local market, where investors are also distracted by looming share sales including IkeGPS, Scales Corp, ERoad and reportedly Metro Performance Glass.

"Our team is extremely busy continuing to review the number of deals that are out there," said James Lindsay, portfolio manager at Tyndall Investment Management. "New Zealand with its pretty flat market here is lagging global markets. The Fonterra dairy auction lost value and that dairy price and pay-out may have implications for GDP growth for New Zealand if they flow through."

Diligent, which makes software that allows company directors to manage their work flows, rose 2.8 percent to $4, having touched its lowest level this year at the start of the week. Xero, which is chasing global sales growth it says will deliver profits down the track, rose about 1 percent to $26.

Air New Zealand, the national carrier, gained 1.4 percent to $2.14. Auckland International Airport rose 0.3 percent to $3.91. Fletcher Building, the biggest company on the NZX 50, gained 0.2 percent to $8.77.

Fonterra Shareholders' Fund, whose unit holders are entitled to the dividends on the dairy giant's ordinary shares, rose 0.7 percent to $5.74. Dairy product prices fall to the lowest level since January 2013 in the GlobalDairyTrade auction overnight, while whole and skim milk powder paced a decline in the ANZ commodity price index in June, which fell for a fourth month.

Goodman Fielder fell 2.1 percent to 70.5 cents after Singapore-based Wilmar International and Hong Kong-listed investment firm First Pacific lowered their offer price by about 3.6 percent after scrutinising the food maker’s accounts.

Outside the benchmark index, Wynyard Group advanced 2.8 percent to $2.18 after the security software firm said it had a conditional contract with an existing Asia Pacific justice customer which will add $2.5 million over the initial contract term, with out being more specific.

Gentrack, the airport and utility software company, rose 1.2 percent to $2.65. SLI Systems, the search engine developer, advanced 2.1 percent to $1.46.

On the NZ Alternative Index, GeoOp, which makes a task managing app for small businesses, was unchanged at 99 cents. Serko, the travel booking software maker, slipped 1 percent to $1.02.

Tourism Holdings, the campervan rental company, rose 6.3 percent to $1.19 after saying it expects to “meet or exceed” its February forecast for profit to rise to $10.5 million in the year ended June 30, from $3.8 million a year earlier. The company expects to achieve further growth in its 2015 financial year.

Smiths City, the Christchurch-based retailer, was unchanged at 54 cents after Utilico Investments disclosed a 13.6 percent stake in the company.


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