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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares fall as oil prices weigh on NZOG

MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares fall as oil prices weigh on NZOG, Air NZ gains

By Suze Metherell

Nov. 28 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand shares fell paced by New Zealand Oil & Gas as oil prices sank overnight while Air New Zealand gained on the prospect of continuing cheap jet fuel. Pacific Edge gained on its first-half earnings.

The NZX 50 Index fell 30.931 points, or 0.6 percent, to 5424.447. Within the index, 31 stocks fell, 13 rose and six were unchanged. Turnover was $127 million.

Across the Tasman, Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index dropped 1.6 percent in afternoon trading, as Santos, a major oil and gas distribution company, slumped 11 percent and Sennex Energy tumbled 16 percent. Oil prices fell overnight after the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries decided to hold supply, rather than restrict production in a bid to shore up prices.

NZ Oil & Gas, the listed energy explorer, dropped 1.6 percent to 63 cents. Meanwhile, Air NZ, the national carrier, gained 3.9 percent to $2.43 as cheaper oil translates to less expensive jet fuel, a significant input cost for the airline.

"The oil price is down about 10 percent over night, and in Australia it's being felt much harder - anything oil related over there is down, a lot," said Greg Easton, investment adviser with Craigs Investment Partners. "New Zealand Oil & Gas is very much a victim of that. But for Air New Zealand it's put a rocket up its share price."

Pacific Edge advanced 6 percent to 88 cents. The Dunedin-based biotech company, which makes and markets bladder cancer tests, said its first half loss was unchanged at $4.73 million from the year earlier period as its revenue soared to $1.6 million from $183,000. The company is targeting large urology groups and urologists in high density, large urban centres across the US as part of its goal to generate $100 million in gross revenue in the country after five full years of trading.

"They're still very early in their commercialisation process," Easton said. "But it does show commercialisation is working and they have a product that is selling. It's given the market confidence that they'll be able to meet those targets they've put out there."

Vector, the Auckland lines company, dropped 3.1 percent to $2.82. The Commerce Commission's final decision on default prices for electricity lines companies should bring down national distribution prices by 1.1 percent in 2015, with future increases for the following four years to be at the rate of inflation. The decision will let Vector increase prices 0.8 percent in the 2015/16 year with a maximum allowable revenue of $395.2 million and future increases at the rate of CPI.

Precinct Properties New Zealand, which this week sold its SAP building in Auckland to property mogul Bob Jones for $97 million, rose 0.5 percent to $1.11 after it said it plans to raise up to $75 million in a bond offer, which it will use to repay bank debt.

Spark New Zealand, formerly Telecom Corp, declined 1.5 percent to $3.06. Fletcher Building, the construction and building supplies firm, gained 0.9 percent to $8.19. Ryman Healthcare, the retirement village operator, dropped 2.6 percent to $8.01.

Outside the benchmark index, Mowbray Collectables sank 27 percent to 30 cents after the listed stamp and collectables dealer and auction house widened its first-half loss to $1.99 million as it records "the worst six months in the company's history" and weighs its future as a listed company.

(BusinessDesk)

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