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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares rise, paced by Tower, Meridian

MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares rise, paced by Tower, Meridian as IPOs loom

By Jonathan Underhill

July 3 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand shares rose, paced by Tower, Meridian Energy and Diligent Board Member Services as institutions turned their attention to offers of shares from Metro Performance Glass and Scales Corp, seeking to raise up to a combined $460 million.

The NZX 50 Index rose 5167.394 points, or 0.4 percent, to 5167.394. Within the index, 29 stocks rose, 16 fell and five were unchanged. Turnover was $102 million.

Metroglass and Scales have pushed on with their bookbuilds in the shadow of Hirepool, which withdrew from the market after failing to win over institutional investors. They join ERoad and IkeGPS among companies aiming for a listing.

Tower rose 1.4 percent to $1.84, the highest close in more than seven months, having announced on July 1 the sale of its remaining life insurance business for $36 million, leaving the company as a pure-play general insurer.

"Tower has continued to rise following the sale of the life insurance business," said Matthew Goodson, who helps manage $650 million at Salt Funds Management. "There's potential for future capital management."

Meridian, the largest power company by market value, rose 1.2 percent to $1.265, having touched a record $1.27 in intraday trading.

"With low interest rates everywhere there's a real reach for yield," Goodson said.

Fletcher Building, the biggest company on the benchmark index, rose 0.9 percent to $8.85. Mainfreight, the global logistics and transport company, gained 2.2 percent to $14.40.

Of recently listed companies, Serko was unchanged at $1.02, below its $1.10 IPO price, and Gentrack Group held above its IPO price, rising 0.8 percent to $2.67.

Ryman Healthcare rose 0.2 percent to $8.55 after the country's biggest listed retirement village operator and developer bought a new Wellington site where it plans to build a boutique village. Rivals Metlifecare increased 0.2 percent to $4.54, and Summerset Group fell 0.6 percent to $3.40.

Units in the Fonterra Shareholders' Fund, which gives investors exposure to Fonterra Cooperative Group's dividends, were unchanged at $5.74 after dairy prices yesterday fell for a ninth time in the last 10 auctions, prompting ANZ economists to downgrade their forecast for the 2015 payout to farmers. A2 Milk Co gained 1.5 percent to 70 cents, and Synlait Milk declined 0.9 percent to $3.33.

Tourism Holdings added to yesterday's gain, rising 0.8 percent to $1.20 after it said yesterday it may beat annual earnings guidance.

Telecom Corp gained 0.6 percent to $2.70.


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