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RESEND MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares up in regional rally

RESEND MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares up in regional rally, A2 and Sky TV lead gains


(Fixes direction in 2nd paragraph)

By Sophie Boot

July 25 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand shares gained on regional strength, led higher by A2 Milk Co and Sky Network Television.

The S&P/NZX50 Index rose 0.4 percent, or 32.57 points, to 8,933.89. Within the index, 31 stocks rose, 14 fell and five were unchanged. Turnover was $103.5 million.

Markets across Asia rose in the afternoon's trading. At 5:30pm New Zealand time, Japan's Nikkei 400 was up 0.3 percent and Hong Kong's Hang Seng had risen 0.8 percent, while Australia's ASX 200 was down 0.3 percent.

"Obviously there was a pretty positive lead from the US overnight after a good result from Google which saw Wall Street climb," said Grant Davies, investment advisor at Hamilton Hindin Greene. "That has been flowing through to New Zealand, though we are weakening into the close"

A2 Milk Co led the index higher, up 2.4 percent to $10.85. Sky Network Television rose 1.6 percent to $2.60, Heartland Bank gained 1.2 percent to $1.74, and Tourism Holdings advanced 1.1 percent to $6.26.

Genesis Energy was the worst performer, down 1.2 percent to $2.47. Stride Property fell 1.1 percent to $1.85 and Chorus dropped 0.8 percent to $4.285.

Outside the benchmark index, Abano Healthcare rose 2.9 percent to $8.88. It reported a 16 percent lift in annual profit on record revenue as its dental network improved performance in both Australia and New Zealand.

The company, which operates the Lumino The Dentists chain in New Zealand and Maven Dental Group in Australia, said profit rose to $12.6 million, or 50.95 cents per share, in the year to May 31 from $10.9 million, or 50.79 cents, in the prior year. Underlying profit increased 18 percent to a record $13.6 million.

"It was pretty reasonable and in line with what the market was expecting, maybe slightly at the upper end," Davies said. "The stock is still down for the year after the capital raising earlier. All in all, investors are quietly pleased and the dividend has been increased."

IkeGPS rose 1.8 percent to 58 cents. The unprofitable laser measurement tool maker said it had a solid first quarter and plans to "substantially accelerate" sales of its new IKE Analyze product.

"It's not a huge move on the market, I wouldn't read too much into it, and it's still recovering from a pretty low-level last year," Davies said.

ASX-listed Volpara Health Technologies was up 3.3 percent to 78 Australian cents at 5:15pm New Zealand time. It signed 28 new customers in the three months to June 30, the most in a quarter, and saw both its total contract value and its annual recurring revenue lift.

(BusinessDesk)

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