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MARKET CLOSE: NZ stocks snap three day losing streak

MARKET CLOSE: NZ stocks snap three day losing streak; Hallenstein leads gainers, Vector falls

By Jason Krupp

Aug. 10 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand stocks rose for the first time in three sessions, snapping the steepest decline seen since the global financial crisis in 2008, after the U.S. Federal Reserve promised to keep interest rates on hold for at least two years. Hallenstein Glasson Holdings rose, and Vector Ltd. fell.

The NZX 50 Index rose 88.38 points, or 2.9%, to 3,186.15, although the bourse is still about 5.6% off last week's levels before fears about slowing global growth saw share markets tumble. Within the index, 47 stocks rose, one fell, and two were unchanged. Turnover was $150.2 million.

In afternoon trade, equity markets across the Asia Pacific were almost all trading in the black, with Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index up 3.3% to 19,963.60, Japan's Nikkei 225 Index up 1.2% to 9,046.52, and Australia's S&P/200 Index up 2.7% to 4,143.3.

"Anyone who bought shares yesterday will be taking profits today, which is why I suspect the buying we saw in the morning hasn't continued as strongly in the afternoon," said Rickey Ward, domestic equities manager at Tyndall Asset management. "That tells me the market is still worried about risk related to the U.S. economy."

The market was palpably nervous ahead of the U.S. open tonight, Ward said, with investors looking like they would remain on the fence as offshore markets opened. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index futures fell 3 basis points this afternoon at 1168.7.

Hallenstein Glasson Holdings, the fashion retailer, rose 9% to $3.50, leading gainers on the exchange, with retail stocks getting a boost from stronger electronics card transaction numbers for July.

The data showed New Zealanders have loosened the grip on their wallets and spent 5.7% more on clothing and apparel in July than the month before.

Kathmandu Holdings, the outdoor clothing and equipment retailer, rose 3.6% to $2.04. Pumpkin Patch, the children's clothing chain, rose 3.3% to 93 cents, after being hammered earlier in the week.

Financial stocks rallied off their lows, lifted by improved activity on the Australian market.
Australia & New Zealand Banking Group, the country's biggest lender, rose 8.8% to $25.80.

Westpac Banking Corp., the Australian lender, rose 5.9% to $25.
Bathurst Resources Ltd., the coal miner looking to start an open pit operation on the West Coast, rose 10.9% to $1.22. The company will find out whether it will be granted a resource consent permit for its Buller project by no later than Aug. 26.

Steel & Tube Holdings, the construction materials supplier, rose 7.8% to $2.35.
Methven Ltd., the tapware manufacturer, rose 7.4% to $1.45.

Sanford Ltd., the fisheries company, rose 6.6% to $5.17.

Opus International Consulting Ltd., the engineering firm, rose 11.1% to $2 after it yesterday reported an 8.4% increase in first-half profit to $11.3 million, but only because its tax bill more than halved in the period.

Earnings before interest and tax fell 13% to $13.5 million for the six months ended June 30. Revenue rose 6.3% to $196.7 million in the six months.

Diligent Board Member Services Inc., the corporate governance software company, rose 5.5% to $1.16 after it said second quarter sales nearly doubled and it reported a bottom-line profit of US$822,308 in the six months ended June 30.

DNZ Property Fund Ltd., the listed property investor, rose 1.7% to $1.22 after it said it was still interested in pursuing a merger with the Argosy Property Trust for as long as the synergies it can see remain available.

The announcement, which comes after a day after an independent report by merchant bankers Grant Samuel called the revised $20 million offer by ANZ-owned OnePath Ltd. to sell back the management contract for Argosy’s properties to the fund’s unitholders "fair".

Argosy shares rose 1.3% to 80 cents.

Vector Ltd., the Auckland electricity and gas distributor, was the only stock on the NZX 50 to fall today, dropping 2.1% to $2.30. The stock is rated as 'underperform' according to the consensus view of six analysts polled by Reuters.

Allied Farmers Ltd., the rural services company which failed to transform itself into a major lender, was unchanged at 0.8 cents today.

The company said it will probably have to write down its stake in Matarangi Beach Estates Ltd. to zero as the prior lender said it will take a loss on the loan.

HSBC, the first lender to Matarangi, faces a "significant loss" and it is "unlikely that any funds will be returned to ALF (Allied) after the realisation of all of the assets," the rural services company said in a statement. It received the advice from receiver KordaMentha.

Cavotec MSL Holdings, the global engineering company which owns Christchurch-based MoorMaster, was unchanged at $2.66 after it said today it would ask shareholders to swap their stock for units in a Swiss-based holding company next month.

The special meeting is scheduled for Sept. 1 in Christchurch, and will fulfill the global engineering group’s ambition to move to the Nasdaq OMX Stockholm, a more liquid bourse.


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