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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares gain

MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares gain; index reweighting drives heavy trading in Kiwi, Kathmandu

By Paul McBeth

Sept. 20 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand shares rose in heavy trading as Kiwi Property Group and Kathmandu Holding gained on strong volumes, with the quarterly index reweighting driving traffic.

The S&P/NZX 50 Index increased 28.34 points, or 0.3 percent, to 10,829.39. Within the index, 34 stocks rose, 11 fell, and five were unchanged. Turnover was $282.9 million, with 17 stocks trading on volumes of more than a million shares.

The benchmark index ended the week marginally lower, down 0.3 percent, as investors weighed up the impacts of geopolitical uncertainty, ranging from a spike in oil prices to the Federal Reserve's interest rate outlook. Domestically, the economy grew at a faster clip than economists expected, but they still expect the Reserve Bank to cut the official cash rate below 1 percent.

"The market has been all over the show, but there's not a lot of change after a week of ups and downs," said Grant Williamson, a director at Hamilton Hindin Greene.

Trading was extended today to cater to the typically heavy volumes that come in the quarterly rebalancing of the S&P/NZX and FTSE Russell indices.

Kiwi Property was the most traded stock on a volume of 5.9 million shares, more than three times its 90-day average of 1.8 million. It rose 2.2 percent to $1.65.

Kathmandu rose for a sixth day, up 3.7 percent at $3.10. Almost 4.9 million shares changed hands, about 24 times its 200,000 average. The retailer this week reported earnings at the top-end of its upgraded guidance, including a stand-out performance from its Oboz footwear unit in the US.

Spark New Zealand posted the day's biggest decline, down 2.9 percent at $4.35 on a volume of 4.9 million shares, more than its 3.3 million average. The country's biggest telecommunications firm shed rights to its dividend yesterday. Fletcher Building rose 2 percent to $5.09 on a volume of 4.6 million shares.

Among stocks trading on volumes of more than 3 million shares, Meridian Energy fell 1.1 percent to $5.115 and Stride Property was unchanged at $2.28.

Auckland International Airport was up 0.9 percent at $9.13 and A2 Milk snapped a three-day decline, up 1.2 percent at $13.52. Both stocks traded on volumes of more than 2 million shares.

Goodman Property Trust rose 0.2 percent to $2.165 on a volume of 2 million units. The commercial landlord raised $150 million at $2.10 per unit in a placement earlier this week.

Z Energy rose 0.9 percent to $5.55 on a volume of 2.3 million shares. The fuel retailer has been recovering having shed as much as 19 percent during the course of a week after it issued a profit warning on unprecedented discounting by its rivals and as investors weighed up the impact on fuel prices of recent attacks on Saudi Arabian processing facilities.

"It's got down to a level that gets yield investors really excited," Williamson said. Z is trading at a gross dividend yield of about 10.9 percent.

Of other stocks trading on volumes of more than a million shares, Mercury NZ fell 1.8 percent to $5.09, Contact Energy decreased 0.1 percent to $8.31, Infratil rose 1.1 percent to $4.95, Air New Zealand rose 0.8 percent to $2.70, Sky Network Television was up 0.9 percent at $1.14, Precinct Properties New Zealand fell 0.6 percent to $1.805, and Fisher & Paykel Healthcare increased 0.5 percent to $17.05.

Synlait Milk led the index higher, up 4.1 percent at $9.48 on a volume of 64,000 shares, less than its 97,000 average.

Fonterra Shareholders' Fund units fell 0.9 percent to $3.17. Fonterra today said its board is considering its succession strategy with director Simon Israel leaving this year and chair John Monaghan scheduled to retire next year, although his exit isn't a forgone conclusion.

Outside the benchmark index, Steel & Tube Holdings was unchanged at 85 cents after saying both it and the Commerce Commission are appealing a High Court ruling imposing a $2 million fine on the steel products maker over its representations over steel mesh products.

Booster's Private Property and Land Fund still has yet to trade since its compliance listing on Wednesday. Booster said there's strong demand for units, but not enough willing sellers, so it will buy units at the end of the month to meet that demand.


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