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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares join global rally; NZR up

MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares gain with global rally in light trade; NZR, FPH rise

Dec. 23 (BusinessWire) – New Zealand shares rose for a second day, helped by improved sentiment in equities markets worldwide and a weaker New Zealand dollar that helps exporters. New Zealand Refining and Fisher & Paykel Healthcare were among gainers.

The NZX 50 Index rose 30.37, or about 1%, to 3209.56. Within the index, 26 stocks rose, eight fell and 16 were unchanged. Turnover was $62.3 million.

NZ Refining gained 6% to $3.90, leading the index higher. Infratil Ltd. this week announced progress in talks to acquire Shell New Zealand’s downstream assets, including 17% of NZR. Separately, figures this week showed a pick-up in the nation’s oil production.

F&P Healthcare, which gets almost 80% of its sales in U.S. dollars, rose 1.2% to $3.40 as the New Zealand dollar fell below 70 U.S. cents for the first time in three months.

The kiwi fell after figures showed the economy expanded 0.2% in the third quarter, half the pace some economists and Reserve Bank Governor Alan Bollard had expected. The stock market didn’t show much direct reaction to the numbers.

Allied Farmers, which had to reassure investors caught with an avalanche of stock this week after its transaction with Hanover Finance investors, jumped 22% to 13 cents, valuing the company at $208.7 million. Shares on issue soared to more than 1.9 billion from 37.7 million as a result of the purchase of Hanover’s financial assets.

The “sheer weight of supply” is a risk overhanging the stock, said Stephen Wright, private client adviser at ASB Securities. Activity in the local equity market is “literally very quiet” in the run up to Christmas, which may help explain the lack of reaction to the GDP figures, he said.

Across Asia today, equity markets advanced. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index climbed 1.9% to 10378.03 in early afternoon trading. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.6% to 4733.10. Stocks rose in both Europe and on Wall Street overnight on optimism 2010 will bring further gains as economic activity picks up.

Pan Pacific Petroleum rose 4.2% to 50 cents as crude oil traded near a two-week high. New York crude traded at $74.42 a barrel in Singapore.

Australia & New Zealand Banking Group gained 2.6% to $27.30 and Westpac Banking Corp. rose 2.1% to $30.52, tracking gains in the lenders’ ASX-losted shares.

AMP Ltd. rose 3.1% to $8.30. Investors are awaiting the insurer’s response after National Australia Bank offered to acquire AXA Asia Pacific's Australian and New Zealand assets for A$13.3 billion, trumping an earlier AMP-AXA SA bid.

Auckland International Airport rose 2% to $2 after the nation’s busiest gateway yesterday said it had negotiated a new $150 million standby facility with Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ that matures in 2013. The facility replaces a syndicated $100 million arrangement that was due to expire in March 2010.

November traffic data, also released yesterday, showed arrivals from Australia, the nation’s biggest source of tourists, climbed 11% last month. Total overseas arrivals climbed 0.8% while domestic passenger volumes rose 7%. The shares rose 4 cents to $1.96 yesterday.

PGG Wrightson fell 6.5% to 58 cents, the biggest decline on the NZX 50 today. Key shareholders announced changes to the size of their stakes as a result of the capital raising and arrival of Agria Group on the register. Pyne Gould Corp.’s holding falls to 18.3% from 48% and Agria holds 19%, up from about 12%.
All new shares under the rights issue have been allotted, raising about $180.7 million.

“It is an excellent result for PGW to have successfully completed the rights issue before the New Year,” said chairman Keith Smith. “This has allowed PGW to repay $200 million of bank debt and recapitalise the business well ahead of schedule.”

NZ Farming Systems Uruguay fell 2.1% to 47 cents.


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