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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares rise to 3-mth high as earnings loom

MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares rise to 3-mth high as earnings loom; Fletcher, KMD gain

By Hannah Lynch

Aug. 7 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand shares rose to a three-month high on speculation earnings season will show companies are making some headway in a subdued economy. The gains were paced by companies as diverse as Kathmandu, Fletcher Building and Chorus.

The NZX 50 Index rose 21.61 points, or 0.6 percent, to 3584.81, the highest since May 2. Within the index, 27 stocks rose, seven fell and 16 were unchanged. Turnover was $73.7 million.

New Zealand’s listed companies will lift normalised per-share earnings by a median 6.1 percent, based on Forsyth Barr’s forecasts for 43 companies that it follows.

"The optimism is partly generated by the fact that people are investing in the stock market for income," said Greg Easton, investment advisor at Craigs Investment Partners. "Companies in the real economy are doing okay - those in charge of their own destiny."

Kathmandu, the outdoor clothing and equipment manufacturer, rose 3.1 percent to $1.65 and clothing retailer Hallenstein Glasson Holdings gained 1.9 percent to $4.26.

Fletcher Building, New Zealand largest construction company, rose 1.1 percent to a new one-month high of $6.34.

Chorus, New Zealand's largest fixed-line telecommunications network company since its demerger from Telecom last year, rose 1.6 percent to a three-week high of $3.12. Telecom, which is the largest company on the exchange, was up 0.7 percent to $2.73, its highest close since August 2008. The stock has risen 29 percent this year.

Air New Zealand, the airline marked for government sell-down, gained 1.7 percent to 91 cents.

The decline was led by Goodman Fielder, the food ingredients manufacturer whose brands include Edmonds baking products and Vogel’s bread, down 3.2 percent to 61 cents. NZX, the stock exchange regulator, fell 2.5 percent to $1.15.

Cavalier, New Zealand's only listed carpet marker, declined 0.6 percent to $1.63.

Kiwi Income Property Trust was unchanged on $1.10. The Auckland-based property investor forecasts that the Wellington property market will remain subdued over the next four years, with vacancy rates remaining above 11 percent.

Nuplex Industries, the specialty chemicals maker, rose about 2 percent to $2.57 and SkyCity Entertainment Group, the casino and hotel company, rose 1.4 percent to $3.64.

Mainfreight, the biggest transport company on the NZX 50, fell 0.3 percent to $9.35 and power and gas distributor Vector fell 0.4 percent to $2.82.


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