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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares hit record amidst rebalancing

MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares hit record amidst rebalancing, Comvita and Sky TV gain while Pushpay, A2 drop

By Sophie Boot

March 16 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand shares rose in heavy turnover amidst index rebalancing, with Comvita and Sky Network Television gaining while Pushpay and A2 Milk Co dropped.

The S&P/NZX 50 Index gained 9.75 points, or 0.1 percent, to a record 8,477.08. Within the index, 20 shares rose, 19 fell and 11 were unchanged. Turnover was $345 million.

Both the local benchmark index and the S&P/ASX indices were rebalanced today. Moving out of the NZX 50 was Metro Performance Glass, replaced by Gentrack Group. Metro Glass was unchanged at 77 cents while Gentrack rose 3.4 percent to $6.70.

"Overall the market has had a pretty good day, the index is up at a record high again though a lot of that relates to A2 Milk - without that immaculate rise, the index wouldn't be anywhere near these sorts of levels," said Grant Williamson, director at Hamilton Hindin Greene. A2 dropped 2 percent to $13.62 today, though it has gained 415 percent in the past year.

Comvita led the index higher, up 7.6 percent to $7.80, while NZX rose 2.8 percent to $1.10.

Sky Network Television gained 6.5 percent to $2.29, and was the most heavily traded stock by volume today, with some 34.3 million shares traded, making up about a third of total shares traded.

"It's had a bit of a selloff this week but has managed to regain a little bit of ground yesterday and today, and it's back to where it started the week," Williamson said. "It has rebounded not too badly from that earlier low of $2.06, though it is still a pretty depressed share price."

Pushpay Holdings was the worst performer, down 2.3 percent to $4.24, while Metlifecare dropped 1.5 percent to $5.78.

Outside the benchmark index, Veritas Investments was unchanged at 4 cents. Shareholders voted to sell the business and assets of the Mad Butcher franchisor to its chief executive Michael Morton for $8 million at a special meeting held today in Auckland.

Prior to the meeting, independent adviser Simmons Corporate Finance said the $8 million price tag falls within its estimated value of between $7.2 million and $9.4 million and that the transaction is fair to shareholders not associated with Morton.


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