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MARKET CLOSE: NZ stocks rise on rebound rally; Telecom leads

MARKET CLOSE: NZ stocks rise on rebound rally; Telecom leads gainers, APN falls

By Jason Krupp

Aug. 15 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand stocks rose, with the exchange joining regional markets in rebound rally following the recent rout on global equity markets. Telecom Corp. led gainers and APN News & Media Ltd. fell.

The NZX 50 Index rose 36.13 points, or 1.1%, to 3,252.63. Within the index, 27 stocks rose, 10 fell, and 13 were unchanged. Turnover was a lower than usual $85 million.

Markets across the Asia Pacific region rose today amid signs the global risk appetites are stabilising following the rout triggered by the downgrade of the U.S. credit rating.

In afternoon trade, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rose 2.3% to 20,069.05, Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 2.2% to 4264.60, and Japan's Nikkei 225 Index rose 1.3% to 9.080.05. Standard & Poor's 500 Index futures rose 0.7% to 1,185.30.

"Markets here as well as in Australia and Asia are following the stronger tone set by the U.S. and European markets last week," said Craig Brown, a senior investment analyst at One Path New Zealand. "With this level of volatility in the market you are going to see quite significant swings from day to day with a lot of it sentiment driven, although we have results season underway and that gives us some quite definitive data points."

Telecom, the country's biggest phone company, rose 3.9% to $2.54, with the stock gaining ahead of its annual results on Friday, with net profit expected to come in between $330 million and $370 million.

Goodman Fielder Ltd., the Australian food ingredient manufacturer, rose 3.6% to $1.14.

Rakon Ltd., the manufacturer of crystal timing components used in electronics, rose 3.5% to 89 cents.

Steel & Tube Holdings, the construction materials supplier which last week reported a threefold jump in annual profit, rose 2.8% to $2.55.

Australia & New Zealand Banking Group, the country's biggest lender, rose 2.4% to $25.60.

Vector Ltd., the Auckland electricity and gas supplier, rose 2.2% to $2.35.

The company, in its opening application for a judicial review of aspects of the Commerce Commission's recent changes to the rates of return on monopoly networks, told the High Court in Wellington that foreign lenders are being put off by the "constant tweaking" rules.

Port of Tauranga Ltd., the port operator, rose 2.1% to $9.29.

NZX Ltd., the securities market operator, was unchanged at $2.20 after it reported that net profit declined 21% to $4.5 million in the six months ending June 30 compared to the same period last year. That was short of the $7.6 million expected by broker Forsyth Barr.

APN, the publisher of the New Zealand Herald newspaper and operator of the Radio Network, fell 4.3% to $1.12, leading decliners on the exchange.

Infratil Ltd., the infrastructure investment holding company, fell 1.7% to $1.69.

Freightways Ltd., the express package company, fell 1.5% to $3.21. The company today said underlying annual net profit rose 7% from a combination of volume and pricing increases as well as new business.

The Auckland-based company boosted bottom-line profit 29% to $29.9 million for the year ended June 30, although it was distorted by $1.3 million in one-off costs associated with the Christchurch earthquakes and lower tax charges.

Kathmandu Holdings, the outdoor clothing and equipment retailer, fell 1.5% to $1.98.

Methven Ltd., the tapware manufacturer and exporter, fell 1.3% to $1.47.

AMP NZ Office Ltd., the specialist investor in office properties, fell 1.2% to 83 cents.

Goodman Property Ltd., the property investor, fell 1% to 95 cents.

Pumpkin Patch Ltd., the children's clothing chain, fell 1% to 97 cents.

(BusinessDesk)

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