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REFILE: MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares rise on Australian growth

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

(Includes NZ dollar's performance in final paragraphs)

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.

The New Zealand dollar fell near a two-month low after data showed the Australian economy grew at a faster pace than expected.

The kiwi dipped below 78 Australian cents for the first time since July 13, and traded at 78.03 cents at 5pm, down from 78.83 cents yesterday. It rose to 82.86 U.S. cents at 5pm from 82.17 cents at 8am, and was little changed from 82.88 cents yesterday.

Australia’s economy grew a faster-than-expected 1.2% in the three months ended
June 30, according to government data, beating the 0.9% growth expected by analysts. That helped stoke appetites for the trans-Tasman currencies, which have been benefitting from heightened fears over the state of Europe’s sovereign debt crisis.

Germany’s Constitutional Court will vote on whether the bail-out package for Greece met Germany’s constitution, while investors are also waiting on the European Central Bank and Bank of England meetings this week.

On the other side of the Atlantic, U.S. President Barack Obama is expected to unveil a package to stoke jobs growth when he address the House of Representatives in a bid to help the world’s biggest economy avoid another recession.

“These are going to be a lot of the drivers of risk sentiment over the next couple of days,” said Robert Rennie, chief economist at Westpac Banking Corp. in Sydney. “U.S. rates are going to stay at very, very low levels, making the Australian and kiwi dollars look pretty darned attractive from a yield point of view.”

The kiwi dollar rose to 63.86 yen from 63.64 yen in yesterday and slipped to 58.84 euro cents from 58.95 cents. It fell to 71.48 on the trade-weighted index from 71.65 yesterday, and rose to 51.75 pence from 51.52 pence yesterday.

(BusinessDesk)

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