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MARKET CLOSE: NZ stocks rise on U.S. debt deal, led by FPA

MARKET CLOSE: NZ stocks rise on U.S. debt deal; F&P Appliances leads gainers, Goodman Fielder falls

By Jason Krupp

Aug. 1 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand stocks rose after President Barack Obama said a package of spending cuts had been agreed that will allow the U.S. government to lift its borrowing limit. Fisher & Paykel Appliances Holdings led gainers, while Goodman Fielder Ltd. fell.

The NZX 50 Index rose 18.02 points, or 0.5%, to 3,413.83. Within the index, 24 stocks rose, 15 fell, and 11 were unchanged. Turnover was a lower-than-usual $92.1 million.

"The halfway house debt resolution has helped the market recover but it's still not exactly buoyant," said James Lee, head of institutional equities at First NZ Capital. "We're still expecting some reaction from the ratings agencies."

F&P Appliance, the whiteware manufacturer, rose 3.3% to 62 cents, its highest level since June 20 amid expectations the New Zealand dollar give up some ground against the greenback now that a debt deal has restored some confidence in the U.S. currency. The kiwi dollar recently traded at 88.17 U.S cents, near record highs.

Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Corp., the manufacturer and exporter of breathing masks and respirators, rose 2.8% to $2.57. The company earns about 50% of its revenue in U.S. dollar terms.

Mainfreight Ltd., the trucking company, rose 2.1% to a fresh historic high of $10.72, with the stock still riding the momentum from last's week's annual meeting, where shareholders were told that sales will soar 42% next year, helped by the acquisition of Dutch transport operator Wim Bosman.

Restaurant Brands NZ Ltd., the fast food franchise operator, rose 1.7% to $2.44.

Heartland New Zealand Ltd., the would-be bank, rose 1.6% to 62 cents.

Vector Ltd., the Auckland electricity and gas distributor, rose 1.3% to $2.40.

Fletcher Building Ltd., the nation's biggest construction firm, rose 1.2% to $8.23.

Investment Research Group, the NZAX-listed financial services company, was unchanged at 0.7 cents after it said it expects to meet an NZX extended deadline to file its financial report for the year ended March 31.

The company missed the standard deadline on Friday, saying a "technical matter" relating to the classification of assets delayed the issue of the audit report.

Goodman Fielder Ltd., the Australian food ingredient manufacturer, fell 2.6% to $1.13, leading decliners on the exchange. The company is rated as a 'hold' according to the consensus view of 12 analysts polled by Reuters.

Methven Ltd., the tapware manufacturer, fell 2.6% to $1.53.

Skellerup Holdings, the rubber goods and milking equipment manufacturer, fell 2.4% to $1.23, after prices of New Zealand produced commodities fell for a second months, suggesting the company could see a decline in demand for its products.

The ANZ Commodity Price Index slipped 0.1% to 308.5 in July from June, led by weakness in logs and dairy exports.

Telstra Corp., the Australian phone company, fell 2.1% to $3.76.

The company today released details of its structural separation undertakings, a move required if it is to participate in the Australian government's National Broadband Network, similar to New Zealand's ultrafast broadband project.

Steel & Tube Holdings, the construction supplies company, fell 1.6% to $2.46.

(BusinessDesk)

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