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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares rise; Port of Tauranga gains

MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares rise; Port of Tauranga gains in light trading

Jan. 4 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand shares gained in the first trading day for 2012, with Port of Tauranga rising to a record close after rival Ports of Auckland said it has lost business from Fonterra in the face of strikes.

The NZX 50 Index rose 13.39, or 0.4 percent, to 3288.11. Within the index, 30 stocks rose, 11 fell and nine were unchanged. Turnover was $64 million.

Shares gained on Wall Street and in Europe overnight and equity markets gained in Asia today after figures showed US manufacturing had its best month since June while Germany's unemployment rate was lower than forecast. The more upbeat data stoked optimism the global economy will avoid recession even if Europe contracts.

Port of Tauranga rose 1.5 percent to $10.10, its highest ever close. It reached $10.40 in intraday trading on Dec. 7. Ports of Auckland said today it stands to miss out on up to $100,000 a week in revenue once Fonterra Cooperative Group re-routes $27 million worth of weekly exports through Tauranga and Napier hubs instead of Auckland.

"The Port of Tauranga team have been working on this strategic move for a long time ... all New Zealander's benefit from improved activity across the wharf," said Shane Solly, portfolio manager at Mint Asset Management .

There were "thin volumes in general out there - not a lot of people active in the market," he said. Stocks markets have responded to "a reasonable pickup in activity globally."

Carpet maker Cavalier led gainers, rising 8.8 percent to $2.10, trimming its slide of nearly 50 percent in the past six months.

Stocks that had been punished amid concern Europe's debt crisis would scuttle global growth, were among the biggest gainers. Rakon, the maker of components for smart phones and navigation systems, rose 4.4 percent to 47 cents. Nuplex, the specialty chemicals maker, rose 2.6 percent to $2.35 and Fisher & Paykel Appliances, the whiteware manufacturer, rose 4.2 percent to 37 cents.

Pyne Gould Corp rose 2.9 percent to 35 cents. George Kerr’s Australasian Equity Partners Fund has lifted its interest in the company to 48.4 percent from 47.1 percent held as at Dec. 22, moving closer to a controlling stake as part of his takeover offer. The offer is at 37 cents a share.

Restaurant Brands, the fast food retailer, fell 3.4 percent to $2, the biggest decline on the NZX 50 today. Telecom dropped 3.4 percent to $2 and Fletcher Building rose 0.3 percent to $6.16.


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