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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares rise; Metro Glass rebounds

MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares rise; Metro Glass rebounds ahead of index exit, Comvita falls

By Sophie Boot

March 9 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand shares rose, led higher by a rebounding Metro Performance Glass. Spark New Zealand gained while Comvita fell.

The S&P/NZX 50 Index gained 31.31 points, or 0.4 percent, to 8390.01. Within the index, 30 stocks rose, 13 fell and seven were unchanged. Turnover was $131.9 million.

The NZX 50 March quarter rebalancing was released after the close of trading today and will take effect next Friday. Metro Performance Glass was removed from the benchmark index, replaced by Gentrack Group.

Metro Glass was the best performer on the index, up 3.9 percent to 80 cents, having sold off earlier this week on concern it would drop out of the NZX 50 because of its shrinking market capitalisation. The stock fell 7.2 percent over the week before bouncing today. Gentrack Group, which will replace Metro Glass next week, rose 1.4 percent to $6.39.

"On the whole, trading has been in line with regional markets, though it's hard to read much into things with volumes so light," said James Smalley, investment advisor at Hamilton Hindin Greene. "There are a few stocks bouncing back today after selling from going ex-dividend, and a lot of it's going to happen with the rebalancing after the market closes."

At 5pm local time, Asian markets were trading higher, with Australia's S&P/ASX 200 up 0.3 percent, Japan's Nikkei 400 up 0.7 percent and Hong Kong's Hang Seng up 0.8 percent.

Spark New Zealand rose 3.5 percent to $3.57 and has gained 6.2 percent this week.

"It has had a couple of good days, admittedly volumes haven't been huge, but maybe it's the appeal of the dividend post result," Smalley said. "Obviously there's some further action going on with the 'third telco' in New Zealand, Vocus. A number of their assets are on the block, and that might be seen as a bit of a positive for Spark."

Comvita was the worst performer, down 2.9 percent, while Scales Corp fell 1.8 percent to $4.50 and Fisher & Paykel Healthcare dropping 1.7 percent to $12.98.

Trade Me Group gained 1.4 percent to $4.39. The Commerce Commission today announced it had rejected Trade Me's purchase of rival auto marketplace Motorcentral, saying it couldn't rule out the tie-up undermining competition in the market.

The antitrust regulator turned down Trade Me's clearance to acquire Christchurch-based Limelight Software after almost eight months of reviewing the application. Wellington-based Trade Me wanted to run Limeight's Motorcentral as a standalone business, while also letting dealers upload their listings to a range of websites including Autotrader, Driven, and Trade Me Motors.

(BusinessDesk)

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