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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares mixed, Kathmandu and Sky TV up

MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares mixed, Kathmandu and Sky TV up while Chorus, Comvita drop

By Sophie Boot

March 19 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand shares were mixed, with Kathmandu Holdings up and Sky Network Television continuing to bounce while Chorus and Comvita fell.

The S&P/NZX50 Index rose 15.04 points, or 0.2 percent, to 8,492.12. Within the index, 27 stocks fell, 17 rose and six were unchanged. Turnover was $92.6 million.

Nearly $350 million was traded through the local benchmark index on Friday, as both the local benchmark index and the S&P/ASX indices were rebalanced.

"We had quite a few movements in the offshore indices, and it's something New Zealand has to be aware of and understand offshore investors are pretty significant and NZ companies are inside those indices," said James Lindsay, senior portfolio manager at Nikko Asset Management. "A lot of money is managed passively around the world, and when entries or exits into those indices or passive funds transpire we will see stock volatility."

Kathmandu Holdings led the gains today, up 1.7 percent to $2.40, while Summerset Group Holdings advanced 1.6 percent to $6.91.

Sky Network Television gained 1.3 percent to $2.32.

"It continues to bounce off its lows of mid-last week as it was affected by the passive portfolio selling," Lindsay said. "Offshore fund managers appeared to be shorting into that announcement, that's probably why on the day there was reasonable demand because the shorts were there."

Chorus was the worst performer, down 5.6 percent, or 23 cents, to $3.91, after shedding rights to a 9 cent interim dividend.

Today, Spark New Zealand launched a pilot programme for fifth-generation mobile technology framework, known as 5G, in Wellington. The pilot will run for a month, giving Spark information to further refine how to build a 5G network in a real environment, and it will set up a 5G lab later this year to use the data to help build businesses and applications based on the new technology.

"Chorus probably being hurt somewhat by that announcement," Lindsay said. "From a competitive point of view, the announcement Spark did was along the lines of just trying to display the technology, but the speed that they spoke about in that report probably will worry some - it was pretty fast - ten times or more faster than the Chorus network. It now has a few people thinking about the technological changes we'll see over the next two to five years."

Spark dipped 0.3 percent to $3.38.

Comvita dropped 2.6 percent to $7.60 and Mercury New Zealand fell 2 percent to $3.215.

Outside the benchmark index, NPT was unchanged at 59 cents while Augusta Capital gained 1 percent to $1.05. NPT shareholders voted in favour of Augusta buying the real estate investor's management contract for $4.5 million at a special meeting today in Auckland.

Of the votes cast, 97 percent were in favour of the resolution to approve the externalisation proposal. The transaction was conditional on achieving a minimum of 50 percent of votes cast.

Veritas Investments was unchanged at 4 cents. It has cut its 2018 guidance after shareholders voted to sell the business and assets of the Mad Butcher franchisor to its chief executive Michael Morton.

(BusinessDesk)

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