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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares gain

MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares gain as thaw in US-China trade relations boosts optimism; Pushpay rises on upgrade

By Paul McBeth

Sept. 14 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand shares joined the global rally in equity markets as the prospect of improving trade relations between the US and China lifted investor confidence. Pushpay Holdings led the market higher after getting a broker upgrade.

The S&P/NZX 50 index rose 21.77 points, or 0.2 percent, to 9,270.76, a weekly gain of 1.9 percent. Within the index, 31 stocks gained, 14 fell and five were unchanged. Turnover was $133.6 million.

The local bourse followed global stock markets higher on optimism ministerial-level discussions between US and Chinese officials will end the escalating trade barriers being imposed by the world's two biggest economies. Japan's Topix was up 0.9 percent in afternoon trading, while Australia's S&P/ASX 200 index gained 0.7 percent and Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 0.7 percent.

"The olive branch seems to have been extended by the US to China on trade," said Greg Smith, head of research at Fat Prophets. "Those talks will happen in the coming weeks and the market's optimistic about that."

Pushpay led the local market higher, up 4.4 percent to $4.04 after the payments software developer was upgraded to a 'buy' by a broker. The stock has gained 18 percent from a trough in August.

"It's got a massive addressable market and is already well connected into that market with recurring revenue from a large part of the 'Bible-Belt' in America," Smith said.

NZX rose 2.8 percent to $1.11. The stock market operator signed a memorandum of understanding this week with Nasdaq to explore ways of deepening their existing relationship.

Gentrack increased 2.3 percent to $7.11 and Comvita was up 1.8 percent to $6.10.

Summerset Group gained 1.3 percent to $7.80 after accepting more oversubscriptions than initially planned for a seven-year bond. The retirement village operator raised $125 million, rather than $100 million.

Fonterra Shareholders Fund units fell 0.4 percent to $4.99 after conflicting analyst reports from FNZC and Forsyth Barr on how to interpret Fonterra's review.

Tourism Holdings fell 2.2 percent to $5.40, the biggest decline on the day. Chorus slipped 1.6 percent to $4.79 and Spark New Zealand decreased 1.4 percent to $3.98.

Outside the benchmark index, TruScreen rose 2.1 percent to 24 cents after the cervical cancer test maker received a $450,000 order from Zimbabwe health officials and announced details for a $1 million offer to current investors via a share purchase plan.

NZME increased 1.5 percent to 68 cents after new substantial shareholder Renaissance Asset Management said the stock was undervalued, particularly its digital classifieds businesses.

Among blue-chip stocks, A2 Milk Co slipped 0.6 percent to $11.99, Air New Zealand rose 0.5 percent to $3.18, Auckland International Airport increased 0.1 percent to $6.995, Fletcher Building gained 0.8 percent to $6.37 and Mainfreight advanced 1.7 percent to $29.28.

(BusinessDesk)

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