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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares up in very quiet pre-Christmas

MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares up in very quiet pre-Christmas trading

By Sophie Boot

Dec. 22 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand shares traded quietly in a truncated final session before Christmas, rising in light volume.

The S&P/NZX50 Index rose 31.99 points, or 0.4 percent, to 8,396.43. Within the S&P/NZX50 Index, 30 shares gained, 11 fell and 9 were unchanged. Turnover was $46 million. Trading was shortened by four hours today with the market closing at 1pm and settling at 1:30pm.

James Smalley, investment advisor at Hamilton Hindin Greene, said trading was "as you'd expect - pretty quiet and lacklustre at the moment."

"Everyone has got the weekend and Christmas break on their minds. There is very little open market trading going on," he said.

Tourism Holdings led the index higher, up 2.7 percent to $5.65, while Kiwi Property Group was the worst performer, dropping 1.8 percent to $1.38.

Speaking ahead of the Australian market opening at midday, Smalley said the local index may see volumes rise when the ASX began trading but as there was only an hour of overlap, he didn't expect volumes to increase significantly.

Meridian Energy dipped 0.3 percent to $2.93. It has agreed to buy Trustpower's Australian hydro-electric generation assets for A$168 million, which it says will support an expanding retail business across the Tasman.

Outside the benchmark index, Smiths City Group dropped 1.7 percent to 58 cents. It posted a 5 percent fall in revenue and only just broke even in the first half of the 2018 financial year as economic concerns weighed on consumer appetites. Revenue dropped to $108.6 million from $113.9 million in the six months to Oct. 31, with profit at just $2,000 compared to $1.5 million a year earlier.

(BusinessDesk)

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