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MARKET CLOSE: NZ stocks rise; GMT gains, FPA falls

MARKET CLOSE: NZ stocks rise; Goodman Property gains, FPA falls

By Jason Krupp

Dec. 8 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand stocks rose to their highest level since
Nov. 22, ahead of the central bank's review of interest rates tomorrow. Goodman Property Trust paced gainers on the exchange while Fisher & Paykel Appliances Holdings fell amid weak manufacturing data.

The NZX 50 Index rose 12.47 points, or 0.4%, to 3294.33. Within the index, 19 stocks gained, 17 declined and 14 were unchanged. Turnover was $106.6 million.

Ecvonomists expect that Reserve Bank Governor Alan Bollard will keep the official cash rate at 3% to ensure New Zealand's fragile economic recovery isn’t derailed.

"It has been a very volatile period, and New Zealand has been a very resilient market today," said James Lee, head of institutional equities for First NZ Capital.

Goodman Property, the commercial and industrial properties owner, rose 2.2% to 94 cents after the trust's manager announced that it had agreed to acquire a Christchurch property occupied by Carter Holt Harvey Packaging for $12.5 million.

The 20,380 sqm office and warehouse facility provides an estimated yield on cost of 10.5% and is expected to settle before 31 December 2010, the company said in a statement.

Auckland International Airport Ltd., the country's busiest gateway, rose 2.9% to $2.13, AMP NZ Office Trust, the investor in prime office properties, rose 2.7% to 77 cents, and PGG Wrightson, the rural services group, rose 2.1% to 48 cents.

Telecom Corp., the country's biggest telephone company, ended the day unchanged at $2.15, having earlier gained after its pitch for government's rural broadband initiative made a shortlist of three.

"Telecom did most of moving yesterday, with no really new information today," Lee said.

Scott Technology Ltd. was unchanged at $1.20 after the productions systems maker told shareholders at its annual meeting that it has $10 million plus in new orders in the bag, placing it in a strong position going forward.

Manufacturers paced decliners on the NZX 50, led by Fisher & Paykel Appliances, which fell 1.7% to 57 cents.

Ebos Group, which supplies medical and scientific products, fell 1.6% to $7.50. Steel & Tube Holdings, the manufacturer of steel products used in the construction industry, fell 1.4% to $2.10, and Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Corp., the maker of breathing mask and respirators, fell 1.3% to $3.13.

Data released by Statistics New Zealand showed manufacturing volumes fell for the third consecutive quarter, reaching their lowest level in more than 10-years, lead by declines in the paper and chemical manufacturing.

Seasonally adjusted manufacturing sales fell 1.4% in the three months to Sept. 30 compared to the previous quarter. The declines were offset by a 1.3per cent increase in the value of manufacturing, lead predominantly by increases in dairy and meat prices.

Government numbers also showed that building work declined 3.2% in the September quarter compared to the previous three months, as the number of residential projects stalled.

New Zealand Oil & Gas Ltd., the energy exploration company with a 29% stake in Pike River Coal Ltd., fell 1.1% to 88 cents. The embattled coal miner today said it will have to slash its workforce of 180 as it looks into the feasibility of reopening. Market estimates put the cost of repairs in the region of $200 million.


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