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MARKET CLOSE: NZ stocks rise on earnings; Freightways leads

MARKET CLOSE: NZ stocks rise on upbeat earnings; Freightways leads gainers, Argosy falls

By Jason Krupp

Aug. 17 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand stocks rose, with strong earnings result from Fletcher Building Ltd. helping the exchange chalk up is fifth day of gains. Freightways Ltd. led gainers, and Argosy Property Trust fell.

The NZX 50 Index rose 16.35 points, or 0.5%, to 3,290.10. Within the index, 21 stocks rose, 17 fell, and 12 were unchanged. Turnover was $94.3 million.

"The performance today coincides with some of the major players in the market coming out with their results and investors seem to be reasonably happy with what they're seeing," said Alan Moore, who helps manage $600 million for Milford Asset Management. "Having said that, they’re not overly excited."

Freightways, the courier and data management company, rose 3.1% to $3.30, amid increased investor interest in the stock after it earlier in the week posted a 29% increase in bottom line profit to $29.9 million for the year ended June 30.
Cavalier Corp., the listed carpet maker looking to establish a wool scouring monopoly in New Zealand, rose 2.9% to $3.60.

Property for Industry Ltd., the commercial and industrial property investor, rose 2.6% to $1.18.

Goodman Fielder Ltd., the Australian food ingredient manufacturer, rose 2.6% to $1.20.

Restaurant Brands NZ Ltd., the fast food franchise operator, rose 2.2% to $2.35.

Fletcher, the country's biggest construction firm, rose 1.7% to $7.86 after it posted a 19% increase in net profit before unusual items of $367 million in the 12 months ended June 30. The jump in earnings was due to the contribution from newly acquired Crane Group which more than made up for a drop in sales of building products.

However, once exceptional items such as the Crane acquisition costs, the insulation unit write-downs and adjustments to the carrying value of certain assets are factored in, net profit rose just 4% to $283 million.

"Fletcher had a fairly mixed result," Moore said. "There are still uncertainties about when Christchurch is going to get going, and some of the divisions did better than others."

Cavotec MSL Holdings, the global engineering company, rose 5.3% to $2.79 after it announced that it will buy US-based INET Airport Systems for up to about $30 million in shares and cash.

The company said it will issue 7.7 million shares at NZ$3.30 apiece and will pay an earn-out of up to US$4 million, although no further details on the conditions of this payment were disclosed.

Argosy, the listed property investor, fell 3.8% to 77 cents, leading decliners on the exchange. The stock is rated as 'underperform' according to the consensus view of three analysts compiled by Reuters.

Guinness Peat Group, the investment holding company, fell 2.3% to 63.5 cents.

Tower Ltd., the investment holding company controlled by GPG, fell 2.1% to $1.42.

Infratil Ltd., the infrastructure investment holding company, fell 1.7% to $1.70.

Vector, the Auckland electricity and gas distributor currently challenging the Commerce Commissions' new price regulations for regulated monopolies in the High Court, fell 1.7% to $2.33.

SkyCity Entertainment Group fell 0.4% to $5.75. The casino and hotel operator today posted a 21% jump in annual profit on the back of improved Auckland gaming revenues.

SKC's net profit was $123 million, or 20.9 cents per share, up from $101.9 million, or 16.8 cents a share, a year earlier, it said in a statement.

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

AMP NZ Office Ltd., the specialist investor in office properties, fell 1.2% to 82 cents.

Rakon Ltd, the manufacturer of crystal timing components used in electronics, fell 1.2% to 85 cents.


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