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MARKET CLOSE: Firm start to the week

MARKET CLOSE: Firm start to the week as A2 drives NZ shares higher

By Victoria Young

Sept. 30 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand shares edged higher today led by A2 Milk, while retirement village stocks were among the day’s gainers.

The S&P/NZX50 Index increased 89.12 points, or 0.8 percent, to 10,925.62. Within the index, 41 stocks rose, 8 fell, and one was unchanged. Turnover was $153.8 million, with just 12 stocks trading on volumes of more than a million shares.

“There’s been a reasonable start to the week, and a lot of that improvement relates to upside in A2 Milk,” said Grant Williamson, an investment adviser at Hamilton Hindin Greene.

Shares in the milk marketing company were up by 1.4 percent to $13.26 on a volume of 1.1 million shares.

“It has been under some selling pressure so there is some bargaining hunting,” Williamson added.

Shares in Spark were up by 2 cents or 0.5 percent to $4.41 off a volume of 2.8 million, as investors liked the yield of the telecom company, Williamson said.

Shares in Sky Network Television fell as it indicated it would need shareholders to approve a plan to extend its Sanzaar rugby rights. Its share price fell by 0.9 percent to $1.12 on a volume of 1.3 million.

The company is willing to bid $235 million to get the broadcasting rights, but needs shareholder approval because its market value is not more than double the value of the deal. Its market cap was sitting at $463.9 million today and deals worth more than half a company’s value must go a vote.

“Sky TV is hovering near it's recent low and it's been sitting at that for some time now, really it's in the doldrums,” Williamson said.

There was reasonable strength in retirement village stocks today with both Ryman Healthcare and Summerset Group rising, by 1.8 percent to $13.24 and by 2.8 percent $6.62 respectively.

Shares in Arvida Group are also up by 2.1 percent to $1.48 off volumes of 570,000 while Oceania Healthcare fell by almost 1 percent to $1.02.

Retailer the Warehouse Group rose by 2.0 percent to $2.50 off light volumes, following last week’s announcement that it will pay its biggest dividend in five years and its turnaround plan is starting to pay off.

Gentrack’s share price fell by 8.9 percent to $5.24, with just over 200,000 shares changing hands. The utility software downgraded its expected operating earnings yet again today, to between $25-26 million. It was only late July when it last downgraded earnings forecasts.

Investors will now look ahead to global manufacturing data including the US ISM manufacturing index on Tuesday.

“There’s a been a positive start to the week, international economic data could be interesting with the trade way and so the market will pay close attention to what will happen,” Williamson concluded, noting that today worries on the international scene had made little local impact.


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