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MARKET CLOSE: NZ stocks rise; NZOG pares gain

MARKET CLOSE: New Zealand stocks rise; NZOG pares gain as second blast rocks Pike mine

By Jason Krupp

Nov. 24 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand stocks rose for the second time in three sessions, led higher for much of the day by New Zealand Oil & Gas Ltd. which moved to recover some of the value it shed yesterday, before easing off just ahead of the close on news of a second blast at the Pike River Coal Ltd. mine.

The NZX 50 Index rose 10.44 points, or 0.3%, to 3,269.21. Within the index, 25 stocks rose, eight fell and 17 were unchanged. Turnover was $88.9 million.

NZOG, the energy exploration and production company, rose 2.3% to 89 cents. Shares traded as high as 96 cents during the day, before late reports of a second "massive" explosion at Pike's West Coast coal mine saw it give up some of its headway. Officials said there was now no chance of the 29 trapped miners surviving, and rescue teams had now moved into recovery mode.

"At the moment NZOG's price is moving on speculation of what will happen with Pike, and we can certainly expect a lot of volatility going forward," said
James Lee, head of institutional equities for First NZ Capital. "Ignoring fair value, NZOG put out statement saying Pike was worth 41 cents a share to them, so if it is no longer a going concern that's where we would start pricing."

PGG Wrightson Ltd., the rural services company, rose 6.5% to 49 cents, pacing gainers on the exchange. Yesterday the company announced that it had bought South Australia-based Keith Seeds Pty. The deal follows the recent acquisition in New Zealand of the Corson Grain maize seed business. The price of the transaction was not disclosed.

AMP NZ Office Trust, the investor in prime office space, rose 4% to 78 cents,

Fisher & Paykel Appliances Holdings, the whiteware maker, rose 3.4% to 61 cents, and Pyne Gould Corp., the financial services company looking to transform itself into a bank, rose 2.6% to 40 cents.

Kathmandu Holdings, the outdoor clothing retailer, rose 0.7 to $1.56 after it reported a 9.3% increase in sales in the first 16 weeks of the financial year and predicted earnings growth in 2011.

Sales rose to $51.6 million in the 16 weeks ended Nov. 21, or 2.1% on a same-store basis, down from growth of 19% a year earlier, chief executive Peter Halkett told shareholders at their annual meeting today.

Vital Healthcare Property Trust, the specialist investor in medical clinics, rose 0.9% to $1.12 after shareholders approved plans to raise funds to acquire properties in Australia and were told the trust plans to amend its fee structure.

The trust plans to raise $150.9 million in a one-for-one rights issue at $1.05 apiece. Funds raised will help meet the A$164.5 million cost of acquiring 12 hospitals and medical properties from Essential Healthcare Trust, lifting the value of Vital’s portfolio by 70% to $513.8 million.

Lee said that while the move was a win for the fund, the market had expected it to given the thumbs-up and had already priced it in.

Sky Television Network Television Ltd., the pay TV operator, rose 0.2% to $5.28 after it launched its iSky online portal today, but said subscribers will have to wait a few more weeks before they can access the service.
The internet based service will be free to Sky subscribers based on their existing channel subscriptions at first, with access for non-subscribers at a later date.

Rakon Ltd., the maker of crystal oscillators used in cellphones and GPS units, fell 2.5% to $1.16, pacing decliners.

Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Corp., the manufacturer of breathing masks and respirators, fell 2.3% to $2.95, having trimmed its earnings forecast for the full-year after unfavourable currency movements and tax charges eroded its first-half result, while R&D and selling costs rose.

Net profit for the six months to Sept. 30 fell 54% to $16.9 million compared the same period in the previous year, and sales fell 3% to $245 million.

DNZ Property Fund, the diversified property investor, fell 1.7% to $1.19, Nuplex Industries Ltd., the industrial chemical and resin manufacturer, fell
1.5% to $3.25, and Warehouse Group, New Zealand's biggest listed retailer, fell 1.1% to $3.73.

TrustPower Ltd., the electricity utility controlled by Infratil Ltd., fell 0.7% to $7.35 after going ex-dividend.

Ecoya Ltd., the scented candle company, was unchanged at 78 cents, after it reported a $2.6 million first-half net loss on sales of $4.4 million and said it is on track to meet its May prospectus forecasts.

The result includes one month's trading from skincare company Trilogy purchased on Sept. 1. Excluding Trilogy, sales were $3.1 million for the six months compared with $3.9 million for the year ended March.

The prospectus forecast sales in the year ending March 2010 would be $8 million and the company would make a net loss of $5.1 million.


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