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MARKET CLOSE: NZ stocks rise; Methven leads gainers

MARKET CLOSE: NZ stocks rise; Methven leads gainers, Hallenstein falls

By Jason Krupp

Aug. 12 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand stocks rose, with a spike in investors' appetite for equities on the back of better than expected U.S. unemployment data helping the exchange to eek out a positive close to a week marked by high levels of volatility. Methven Ltd. rose and Hallenstein Glasson Holdings fell.

The NZX 50 Index rose 7.88 points, or 0.3%, to 3,216.50, and declined 1.9% on a weekly basis. Within the index, 29 stocks rose, 14 fell, and seven were unchanged. Turnover was $119.3 million.

"The New Zealand market has held up reasonable well relative to what is happening in other commodity-currency driven markets," said Shane Solly, portfolio manager at Mint Asset Management. "The market has bounced to the point where you need to be more patient to get those bargains but they are still out there."

Methven, the tapware manufacturer and exporter, rose 6.4% to $1.49, leading gainers on the NZX 50, with the stock having now regained the ground it lost over the week.

Tower Ltd., the general insurer controlled by Guinness Peat Group, rose 5.2% to $1.43. The insurer is rated 'outperform' based on the consensus of four recommendations compiled by Reuters.

Air New Zealand Ltd., the national carrier, rose 3.7% to $1.12.

Nuplex Industries Ltd., the industrial chemicals and resins manufacturer, rose 3.3% to $2.48.

Pumpkin Patch Ltd., the children's clothing chain, rose 3.2% to $3.50.
Mainfreight, the logistics company, rose 2.9% to $10.05, with the stock continuing to gain ground after it more than doubled first-quarter profit to $14.2 million.

Heartland New Zealand Ltd., the lender formed in the merger of Marac Finance with the Canterbury and Southern Cross building societies, was put on notice by rating agency Standard & Poor’s over its earnings outlook and legacy loans. The company's shares were unchanged at 58 cents today, and have dropped 34% this year.

Wakefield Health Ltd., the hospital operator looking to buy a controlling stake in Norfolk Investments Ltd., announced today that it now has acceptances from shareholder representing 70.4% of the company’s shares. Wakefield shares were unchanged at $5.10.

Hallenstein Glasson, the fashion retailer, fell 4.1% to $3.50, leading gainers decliners on the NZX 50.

Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Corp., the manufacturer of respirators and breathing masks, fell 2.6% to $2.24, with bounce in the New Zealand dollar taking some of the shine off the exporter. The company earns about 50% of its revenue in U.S. dollar terms.

Seeka Kiwifruit Industries, the fruit grower and packing company, fell 3.6% to $1.88 after it said attempts to constrain the PSA bacteria appear to be failing, with the kiwifruit vine canker spreading beyond the Te Puke growing region to the Matapihi area, north of the Papamoa Hills.

Charlie's Group, the fruit juice and soft drink maker, fell 2.3% to 43 cents after Japanese brewer Asahi Group's offer for the company went unconditional.
Asahi’s New Zealand unit declared it had 90.6% of Charlie’s today, allowing it to compulsorily buy the rest under takeover law.

Sanford Ltd., the fisheries company, fell 2.3% to $5.05.

GPG, the investment holding company, fell 2.3% to 64 cents.

Telecom Corp., the country's biggest phone company, fell 1.8% to $2.45, with investors unwinding their holdings in the company now that some of the volatility in the market has faded, according to Solly.

"People are moving their money around in the market and staying in stocks rather than taking it out and putting it in cash," he said.

Skellerup Holdings, the rubber goods and milking equipment manufacturer, fell 1.7% to $1.18.

Auckland International Airport Ltd. fell 1.14% to $2.17. The country's biggest gateway came under fire this week after a series of security upgrades ahead of the Rugby World Cup caused disruptions and flight cancellations.


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