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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares rise on first trading day of 2018

MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares rise on first trading day of 2018, led by Pushpay, Fletcher

By Sophie Boot

Jan. 3 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand shares rose in the first trading session of 2018, led higher by Pushpay Holdings and Fletcher Building.

The S&P/NZX50 Index gained 26.83 points, or 0.3 percent, to 8,424.91. Within the index, 27 stocks rose, 17 fell and six were unchanged. Turnover was $89.2 million.

"Volumes haven't been too bad given a lot of institutions and fund managers are still away on holiday, but the phones have been pretty quiet today," said Grant Williamson, director at Hamilton Hindin Greene. "A lot of investors don't have their minds on the market right now."

Pushpay Holdings was the best performer, up 4.3 percent to $4.35. The mobile payments app company reached its target of US$100 million in annualised committed monthly revenue by Dec. 31, and reiterated it expects to break even on a monthly cash flow basis before the end of 2018.

"They had predicted what they were going to achieve, but the market has taken heart from the announcement," Williamson said. "With Xero moving off the board, investors are looking at companies in the tech sector - obviously Pushpay is one, ERoad, Serko has done pretty well as well. You've seen movement up in a number of those stocks."

ERoad gained 3.1 percent to $3.69 in the day, while Serko rose 5.5 percent to $2.31. Neither stock is listed on the benchmark index.

Fletcher Building gained today, up 2 percent to $7.75, with Heartland Bank rising 1.9 percent to $2.12.

Auckland International Airport rose 1.5 percent to $6.58. It is still considering its options for its 24.55 percent stake in North Queensland Airport and expects to give an update by next month. The airport said three options - to continue to hold the stake in the airport, to sell to one or more of the existing NQA shareholders, or to sell to a third party in accordance with the security holders agreement - remain on the table, but it prefers to sell the asset.

Skycity Entertainment Group was the worst performer, down 1.9 percent to $4.07, while Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Corp dropped 1.8 percent to $14.09.

Outside the NZX50, tapware designer Methven dropped 3.6 percent to $1.06. It named Jannine Mountford as chief financial officer and company secretary, saying it was confident the former NZ Rugby and Fletcher Building executive would help drive long-term profitable growth.

(BusinessDesk)

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