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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares rise in subdued holiday trading

MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares rise in subdued holiday trading; Tourism Holdings, Sky TV gain

By Jonathan Underhill

Dec. 28 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand shares rose in subdued holiday trading, keeping the S&P/NZX 50 Index on track for an annual gain of about 22 percent, as US tax cuts lifted sentiment for equities and for companies that do business in the US, such as Tourism Holdings.

The S&P/NZX 50 index gained 32.1 points, or 0.4 percent, to 8,408.53. Within the index, 31 stocks rose, 14 fell, and five were unchanged. Turnover was a lighter-than-normal $54 million.

Tourism Holdings gained 3.3 percent to $5.96. The shares of the campervan rentals company have climbed more than 8 percent since it said tax reform in the US will boost annual profit by between $2.3 million and $3 million based on the current distribution of its earnings across US states, current state tax rates, and exchange rates. The rental motorhome operator anticipates its total effective tax rate in the US will fall to about 27 percent from 40 percent.

"Tourism Holdings is one of the few that's said the tax reforms are likely to be positive for them," said Chris Timms, an adviser at Craigs Investment Partners. "That's why we've seen them rise - plus a tourism sector that's still pretty buoyant."

Timms said with trading volumes light, the direction of the market can be fickle "but the general feeling is still reasonably positive." News for US markets "is reasonably healthy, particularly with the tax changes." Institutions are reasonably settled heading into what is the quarter-end and the end of the financial year, he said.

Fisher & Paykel Healthcare, which gets much of its sales in the US and in US dollars, rose 0.6 percent to $14.23. Restaurant Brands gained 2.1 percent to $7.30.

Sky Network Television, the pay-TV company, gained about 4 percent to $2.89, leading the index higher. The stock has tumbled 39 percent this year as its market becomes inundated with streaming video rivals.

Among retirement village operators Summerset Group rose 1.8 percent to $5.60 and Ryman Healthcare gained 0.2 percent to $10.57.

SkyCity Entertainment Group rose 1.7 percent to $4.13 and Chorus rose 1.2 percent to $4.21. Genesis Energy rose 2.9 percent to $2.53.


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