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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares rise on Australian growth; ANZ gains

MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares rise on Australian growth; ANZ, Telstra gain

By Pam Graham

Sept. 7 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand stocks rose after unexpectedly strong Australian economic growth lifted dual-listed companies including Australia & New Zealand Banking Group and Telstra Corp.

The NZX 50 Index rose 30.39 points, or 0.9%, to 3,300.95. Within the index, 17 stocks rose, 16 fell and 17 were unchanged. Turnover was $69.38 million.

Most share markets across Asia Pacific region rose in afternoon trade, with Japan's Nikkei 225 Index rising 1.9% to 8,755.15, Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index rising 2.25% to 4167.4, and Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rose 1.2% to 19947.37.

"Australian GDP was better than the market anticipated but we were already going up anyway," said James Smalley at brokerage Hamilton Hindin Greene. "The Dow fell but it was a lot better than the market anticipated by looking at futures."

ANZ Bank, one of the four big banks in Australia, rose 4.7% to $25.60 after the Australian Bureau of Statistics reported that Australian gross domestic product grew a seasonally adjusted 1.2% in the three months ended June 30.

That beat a Reuters estimate of a 0.9% expansion, and attracted support for the Australian dollar which climbed quarter of a cent to US$1.0565. The decline in first quarter GDP was revised to 0.9% from 1.2% and takes annual growth to 1.8%.

Telstra Corp, Australia's biggest phone company, rose 2.37% to $3.89.

Goodman Fielder, the Australian food manufacturer, was also seen as benefitting from strength in the Australian economy even though it last month reported a 17% decline in underlying full-year profit. It rose 0.8% to 81 cents.

Telecom Corp, the biggest phone company in New Zealand, rose 1.6% to $2.48. Brokers said it had been pushed lower after going ex-dividend and investors may be more comfortable with its separation plans.

Contact Energy, the biggest power utility on the NZX, rose 2.9% to $5.37. The rise was seen as a recovery from recent weakness and was on thin volume.

A number of stocks went ex-dividend today. Air New Zealand, the national airline, fell 0.9% to 110 after go ex a 2.5 cent dividend. Guinness Peat Group, the investment company being wound down, rose 2.2% to 63.5 cents after trading ex a 1.15 cent dividend.

Sky Network Television, the pay-TV company, fell 5% to $5.50. Shareholders are no longer entitled to its 10.5 cent dividend and 25 cent special dividend.

Rakon Ltd., the maker of crystal oscillators used in electronic devices, rose 0.3% to 75 cents. The stock was hammered after it said annual operating profit could fall as much as 44% for the year ending March 2012 if the New Zealand dollar remains are current level.

NZX Ltd., the securities market operator that has welcomed the possibility of Trade Me listing, rose 0.7% to $2.28.

VoucherMob Ltd., the electronic discount coupon provider, announced it is looking at a back-door listing on the NZAX having entered into a conditional agreement with NZAX-listed Velo Capital Ltd., where Velo will acquire the company for $4.36 million.

Velo will pay $100,000 in cash, and issue 609 million shares at 0.7 cents apiece, giving VoucherMob shareholders 95% ownership of the listed company.

PGG Wrightson Ltd., the rural services company, rose 0.3% to 44 cents. It was weaker earlier this week after the government announced it had withdrawn the rural services company’s finance unit from the Crown Deposit Guarantee scheme now that it has been acquired by would-be bank Heartland New Zealand Ltd.

(BusinessDesk)

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