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MARKET CLOSE: NZ stocks rise from 4-month low

MARKET CLOSE: NZ stocks rise from 4-month low; Air NZ, TradeMe rise ahead of earnings

By Suze Metherell

Aug. 5 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand shares rose from a fourth-month low as investors were lured back to a cheaper market looking for yield. Air New Zealand and Trade Me Group paced the gains. Gentrack Group extended its decline to a record low close.

The NZX 50 Index rose 13.478 points, or 0.3 percent, to 5104.163. Within the index, 20 stocks rose, 17 fell and 13 were unchanged. Turnover was $152.9 million.

The benchmark index rose from its lowest level since April as investors waited on earnings season to kick into full swing and justify the relatively high valuations of companies. The small sell-off lured investors looking for reliable dividends back to the market, investors said.

Air NZ rose 2.4 percent to $1.92. The national carrier, whose shares have a dividend yield of 5.3 percent, is due to report full-year earnings this month, and analysts at Forsyth Barr have predicted a 29 percent rise in profit. Trade Me advanced 2.6 percent to $3.50. The online auction website has a dividend yield of 4.8 percent. Nuplex Industries advanced 2.4 percent to $3.01, and offers a 7.1 percent yield.

"I don't think anyone is really willing to take any big bets on the market until you see how the reporting season develops and whether some of these companies, which have had a very strong share price run, can actually justify those share prices by posting good results," said Mark Lister, head of research at Craigs Investment Partners. "Because the economic outlook is quite positive, things are going well, companies have quite low levels of debt and dividend yields are attractive there will always be people who step in as buyers if you see things fall a little bit."

Outside the benchmark index, Gentrack extended its decline, falling 0.9 percent to a record-low close of $2.19, below its June $2.40 offer price. The utility and infrastructure software company's shares slumped about 13 percent on Friday after announcing it would miss its forecast profit by as much as 32 percent from the $3.7 million expected in its May prospectus, barely a month after it raised $99 million in an initial public offer.

"Gentrack had a shocker, there is no other word for it," Lister said. "That's terrible form to list your company and then within barely a month, I think it was five weeks, have a pretty significant profit downgrade. That raises serious questions about the ability of the company and whether they don't have very good visibility about how their business is going, or if they did have visibility that a couple of these contracts they've lost were looking a bit shaky, then why on earth was that not forecast in the prospectus?"

"The IPOs we've seen over the course of the year, there are a few of them that are actually trading below issue price and I think that's partly a function of a bit of market weakness," Lister said. "It's also a function of having so many IPOs. People have got too many options so they can afford to be a bit fussy."

Serko, which debuted on the NZX the day before Gentrack, fell 2 percent to 92 cents, below its $1.10 offer price.

Scales Corp, the fruit exporter which debuted last month, rose 0.6 percent to $1.58, below its IPO price of $1.60. IkeGPS Group fell 2.1 percent to 93 cents, below its $1.10 sale price. Last week's new entrant to the NZX, Metro Performance Glass, fell 0.6 percent to $1.75, above its $1.70 offer price.

Units of Goodman Property Trust were unchanged at $1.075 after unitholders voted to restructure how the trust pays its manager, Goodman (NZ), at today's annual general meeting in Auckland. The trust will receive a fee rebate equivalent to what it pays the manager on the development land portfolio, in return, the trust will issue the balance of the manager's fee as new units, it said in a statement. Internalising management is an ongoing trend by property investors looking to shed external costs and align the interests of the manager with those of investors.

Precinct Properties rose 0.9 percent to $1.105. DNZ Property Fund increased 0.6 percent to $1.68. Argosy Property fell 0.5 percent to 99.5 cents. Kiwi Income Property was unchanged at $1.175, as was Property For Industry at $1.36.

Xero, the cloud-based accounting software firm, led the benchmark index higher, advancing 2.8 percent to $25. Fletcher Building, New Zealand's largest listed company, was unchanged at $8.82. Telecom slipped 0.9 percent to $2.845.

Briscoe Group advanced 3.3 percent to a 10-year high of $2.80 after the homeware and sporting goods retail chain lifted first-half profit 21 percent to $18 million, bolstered by an insurance settlement, and as second-quarter sales rose, margins widened and increased online sales offset a highly competitive retail environment.

(BusinessDesk)

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