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MARKET CLOSE: NZ stocks rise on bargain hunting; TLS leads

MARKET CLOSE: NZ stocks rise on bargain hunting; Telstra leads gainers, Air NZ falls

By Jason Krupp

Aug. 11 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand stocks rose with the exchange bucking the bloodshed seen on overseas markets, as investors sought stocks beaten down in the recent rout. Telstra Corp. led gainers and Air New Zealand Ltd. fell.

The NZX 50 Index rose 24.87 points, or 0.8%, to 3,208.61. Within the index, 22 stocks rose, 20 fell, and eight were unchanged. Turnover was $106 million.

"Investors are coming back into the market to pick up what they think are bargains," said James Smalley, an adviser at Hamilton Hindin Greene. "To a certain extent on our market the sellers had already gotten out a few days ago, so we seem to have found a bottom for the market in the short term."

Telstra, the Australian phone company, rose 5.9% to $3.76, after full-year earnings came ahead of expectations. The company posted a net profit of A$3.23 billion, which was 16% lower than the previous year, but head of the A$3.1 billion expected by analysts.

Retail stocks received a shot in the arm after consumer confidence levels rose for a seventh month in August, suggesting the economy may be picking up enough to lift Kiwis’ appetite to spend. The ANZ-Roy Morgan Consumer Confidence measure rose 3.9 points to 113.3 in the month, the highest since January when it reached 117.1.

Hallenstein Glasson Holdings, the fashion retailer, rose 4.3% to $3.65. Michael Hill International Ltd., the jeweller, rose 2.3% to 90 cents. Pumpkin Patch, the children's clothing chain, rose 2.2% to 95 cents.

Telecom Corp., the country's biggest phone company, rose 3.7% to $2.50. Fletcher Building Ltd., New Zealand's biggest construction firm, rose 2.9% to $7.51.

Steel & Tube Holdings, the construction materials supplier, rose 2.1% to $2.40 after it reported a three-fold jump in annual profit. Net profit for the year ended June 30 rose to $17 million from $5.7 million the previous year, though still well shy of the $26.1 million in earned in 2008/09.

Mainfreight, the logistics company, rose 1.6% to $9.77 after it more than doubled first-quarter profit to $14.2 million, reflecting improved performance in New Zealand, Australia, the U.S. and Europe as well as a boost in earnings from its Wim Bosman acquisition.

AMP NZ Office Ltd., the specialist investor in office properties, rose 1.2% to 83 cents after the company made an operating profit of $61.1 million in the 12 months ended June 30, compared to a profit of $60.7 million a year earlier, slightly ahead of Forsyth Barr’s forecast profit of $59.7 million.

Air New Zealand Ltd., the national carrier, fell 4.4% to $1.08, leading decliners on the exchange. The stock is rated as 'outperform' according a consensus poll of seven analysts compiled by Reuters.

Fisher & Paykel Appliances Holdings, the whiteware manufacturer and exporter, today announced it has tapped named David Sullivan as chief financial officer, replacing Mark Richardson.

Sullivan has held the same position at SkyCity Entertainment Group and Vodafone New Zealand, and has worked at Air New Zealand, Lion Nathan and BayCorp Advantage, managing director Stuart Broadhurst said in a statement. FPA shares fell 3.5% to 55 cents.

Methven Ltd., the tapware manufacturer, fell 3.5% to $1.40. Nuplex Industries Ltd., the industrial chemicals and resins manufacturer, fell 2.9% to $2.32.

Ryman Healthcare Ltd., the retirement village operator, fell 1.9% to $2.58. TrustPower Ltd., the electricity company controlled by Infratil Ltd., fell 1.8% to 97 cents.

(BusinessDesk)

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