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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares up, Metro Glass gains on 1H results

MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares up, Metro Glass gains on 1H results and Kathmandu, Fisher & Paykel gain ahead of earnings

By Sophie Boot

Nov. 20 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand shares rose, led by Kathmandu Holdings ahead of its annual meeting while Metro Performance Glass gained on its first-half earnings.

The S&P/NZX50 Index gained 27.82 points, or 0.3 percent, to 8,089.8. Within the index, 30 stocks rose, 14 fell and six were unchanged. Turnover was $128 million.

"There's not a lot going on, volumes are pretty light and there are no major leads from offshore, it's just one of those treading water days really," said James Smalley, senior advisor at Hamilton Hindin Greene. "We're in the middle of a mini reporting season at the moment, and results out later this week from Fisher & Paykel Healthcare and Ryman Healthcare should give the market a bit more to get its teeth into. There's just an absence of macro or micro events to drive the market today."

Fisher & Paykel rose 2.4 percent to $13.88, ahead of its first-half earnings tomorrow. Ryman gained 0.3 percent to $9.25; its first-half results are due on Thursday.

Kathmandu Holdings led the index higher, up 5.3 percent to $2.60. The company's annual meeting is due to be held in Melbourne on Friday morning. The stock has gained 27 percent this year.

Metro Performance Glass rose 4.6 percent to 92 cents. The company posted a 2.6 percent gain in first-half profit to $11.8 million, in line with its guidance last month, and gave a forecast for a little changed full-year result. Sales jumped 22 percent to $141.7 million, helped by a full six-month contribution from Australian Glass Group, acquired last year for A$43.1 million. Its shares have dropped 54 percent this year.

"It's kind of the opposite of the usual 'buy the rumour, sell the fact' - people had obviously sold them down after they come out with a number of negative announcements in a row, but the result is within the most recent guidance," Smalley said. "After hitting an all-time low on Wednesday perhaps that was investors getting a little too negative on the stock. The result is not as bad as what the market had expected at all."

Synlait Milk rose 4.1 percent to $7.39, while A2 Milk Co, which Synlait supplies and whose share price movements it usually follows, dropped 1 percent to $7.84. A2's annual meeting will be held tomorrow morning in Auckland.

Xero rose 2.4 percent to $33.80, continuing to bounce back from a recent sell-off which came after it announced its planned de-listing from the NZX.

Kiwi Property Group advanced 1.1 percent to $1.36. The country's biggest listed property investor lifted first-half profit 5 percent as its rental portfolio benefited from new tenants coming on stream, even as the value of its portfolio was flat.

Contact Energy was the worst performer, down 2.5 percent to $5.41. Genesis Energy dropped 2.1 percent to $2.37 and Fletcher Building fell 1.2 percent to $6.90.

Outside the benchmark index, Evolve Education fell 1.3 percent to 77 cents. It said first-half profit more than halved as occupancy rates dropped and it took a $3 million GST impairment. The early childhood education centre operator maintained its forecasts for the full year.

Blis Technologies dropped 10 percent to 1.8 cents. It reported a $1.2 million net loss in the first half as trading revenue tumbled, in particular in its North American market, but is optimistic of an improvement in the second half as sales normalise.


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