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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares gain as investors welcome Z's view

MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares gain as investors welcome Z's dividend view; Trade Me departs

By Paul McBeth

May 2 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand shares rose as investors welcomed greater clarity on Z Energy's dividend intentions in the first local result of the latest reporting season. Index reweightings from Trade Me Group's pending departure were also a feature.

The S&P/NZX 50 Index increased 118.57 points, or 1.2 percent, to a record 10,084.99. Within the index, 42 stocks rose, four fell and four were unchanged. Turnover was $250.5 million, of which Trade Me accounted for $58.1 million.

Z Energy advanced 2.6 percent to $6.37 on a bigger-than-usual volume of 2.7 million shares after the transport fuels company signalled at least a 12 percent increase in dividends as it continues to strip out costs since integrating Caltex into its network. The company reported a 13 percent decline in annual earnings due to the extended outage at Marsden Point refinery and as record prices at the pump trimmed petrol volumes.

"The market liked Z because of the clarity about the dividend," said Stuart Williams, head of equities at Nikko Asset Management. "They didn't get that right going back to the half-year, but they've done a good job of explaining it which was welcomed by the market."

Refining NZ, which operates the refinery, was up 1 percent at $2.09 on a volume of 650,000 shares, more than three-times its 90-day average of 187,000.

Trade Me was the most traded stock on a volume of 9 million shares ahead of its delisting. UK private equity firm Apax Partners will take over the company later this month, paying $6.45 a share, or $2.56 billion, which will then need to be reinvested. The stock was unchanged at $6.43.

Oceania Healthcare, which will replace Trade Me on the NZX 50, rose 0.9 percent to $1.10 on a volume of 1.5 million shares.

NZX led the market higher, up 4.9 percent to $1.10, on a volume of 592,000, more than twice its 206,000 average. Mercury NZ climbed 4.9 percent to $3.87 on a volume of 1.7 million shares.

Dual-listed lenders fell, with banking stocks weaker across the Tasman after BNZ-parent National Australia Bank cut its dividend payment to shore up its capital position while footing a A$525 million bill to fix the problems uncovered by a royal commission of inquiry into the sector.

Australia & New Zealand Banking Group fell 3.3 percent to $28.71 and Westpac Banking Corp declined 2.5 percent to $29. AMP, which isn't in the NZX50, dropped 2.5 percent to $2.35 after reporting a first-quarter cash outflow.

Spark New Zealand rose 0.5 percent to $3.69 on a volume of 3.7 million shares, Contact Energy was up 1.4 percent on 2.6 million shares and SkyCity Entertainment Group increased 2.8 percent to $3.99 on a volume of 2.5 million shares. Air New Zealand was up 3.1 percent on a volume of 1.9 million shares.

Of other companies trading on volumes of more than a million shares, Kiwi Property Group rose 0.7 percent to $1.545, Restaurant Brands New Zealand advanced 3.4 percent to $8.77, Goodman Property Trust was unchanged at $1.72, Meridian Energy increased 1.1 percent to $4.09, Genesis Energy rose 2.7 percent to $3.08, Auckland International Airport was up 0.3 percent at $8 and Infratil climbed 3.3 percent to $4.495.

Fletcher Building rose 2.1 percent to $5.33 on a volume of 797,000 shares. Government data today showed a small dip in the issuing of new building permits in March, due largely to the lumpiness of apartment and unit permits. On an annual basis, residential consents are still up, as is the value of non-residential building work consented.

Outside the benchmark index, Moa Group was unchanged at 38 cents after saying it narrowed its second-half trading loss and was on track to breaking even.


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