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MARKET CLOSE: NZ stocks gain

MARKET CLOSE: NZ stocks gain; Fletcher rises, Rakon falls

Dec. 22 – New Zealand shares rose, pushing the NZX 50 Index higher for the fourth day in five, as Fletcher Building sought to increase its masonry business by buying assets from Stevenson Group. Rakon Ltd. fell after a director sold shares for the second time ion four months.

The NZX 50 rose 24.445, or 0.9%, to 2679.754. Within the index, 21 stocks rose, 14 fell and 15 were unchanged. Fletcher Building rose 4.6% to NZ$6.10 after applying to the Commerce Commission for approval to buy Stevenson assets in Auckland and Whangarei. The stock was among picks by three of four analysts in an Independent survey for 2009 last week.

PGG Wrightson fell for a fourth straight day, sliding 8.7% to NZ$1.05 after issuing a profit warning last week. The stock is down almost 50% this year. Rakon Ltd. fell 3.7% to NZ$1.30 after director Peter Maire sold 1 million shares to raise funds for other investments. In September he sold 3 million shares. The stock has pared its gains since soaring to more than NZ$5.50 in May last year.

NZ Farming Systems Uruguay fell 1.7% to a record low 59 cents after the developer of dairy farms in South America last week said it may post a full-year loss of as much as US$11 million because of a sharp decline in international prices for milk. Cavalier declined 4.3% to NZ$1.80.

Pyne Gould Corp. fell 12% to NZ$2.65. The company which is transforming itself into a bank said late on Friday that it would likely post “a reduced first half performance compared to last year” because of a decline in the value of its holding in PGG Wrightson.

Kirkcaldie & Stains fell 2% to NZ$2.30 after the upscale Wellington department store said it has entered “the most challenging retail environment for many years,” according to its annual report.



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