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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares up, Comvita and Contact Energy gain

MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares up, Comvita and Contact Energy gain while Arvida, Metro Glass fall

By Sophie Boot

July 6 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand shares rose, led by Comvita and Contact Energy, while Arvida and Metro Performance Glass dropped.

The S&P/NZX50 Index gained 33.94 points, or 0.4 percent, to 7,62961. Within the index, 24 stocks rose, 14 fell and 12 were unchanged. Turnover was $120 million.

"It's a bit firmer, but really the transactional volumes are relatively light," said Grant Williamson, director at Hamilton Hindin Greene. "The index is still making new highs but it's pretty small in the scheme of things, we're in that news vacuum and we might stay there until reporting season begins next month. There are mixed signals, the market's giving no firm direction on any sector."

Comvita was the best performer, rising 2 percent to $6.08, while Contact Energy gained 1.5 percent to $5.29 and market darling A2 Milk rose 1.3 percent to $3.92.

Xero gained 1.1 percent to $25.90. The stock has risen 46.4 percent this year amidst a slew of positive earnings and market updates. It hit a three-year high of $26.25 in June.

"They've moved up quite nicely right throughout the year, though they're still well below their highs of 2014," Williamson said.

Meridian Energy rose 1 percent to $2.945. The company's board chose an internal candidate to replace departing chief executive Mark Binns, with general manager of retail Neal Barclay poised to take over the reins of the country's biggest electricity generator at the end of the year.

Barclay will take over when Binns departs on Dec. 21. He joined Meridian in 2008 as chief financial officer before switching to GM markets and production 15 months later, a position he held until last year when he took over the retail unit.

Metro Performance Glass dropped 1.4 percent, or 2 cents, to $1.38. The stock gave up rights to a 3.6 cent interim dividend today, and held an investor update.

"There were one or two positive things in the presentation, but it has been underperforming for a while now. It hasn't met expectations when it comes to earnings and margins," Williamson said.

Arvida Group was the worst performer, down 2.3 percent to $1.27, and Heartland Bank fell 1.1 percent to $1.77.

(BusinessDesk)

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