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MARKET CLOSE: NZX 50 gains on earnings; Freightways up

MARKET CLOSE: NZX 50 rises to 3-month high on earnings; Freightways gains

Aug. 13 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand shares rose, pushing the NZX 50 Index to the highest in more than three months, after earnings from Freightways beat estimates, stoking optimism for the corporate reporting season. Fletcher Building gained to a four-month high.

The NZX 50 index climbed 17.167 points, or 0.5 percent, to 3594.96, the highest since May. 2. Within the index, 26 stocks rose, 16 fell and eight were unchanged. Turnover was $108 million.

Freightways, the courier and data management group, rose 0.3 percent to $3.91 after posting a 24 percent gain in full-year profit to $37 million, beating estimates, and forecast further growth in 2013. Sales rose 8 percent to $382 million.

"The result reinforces the positive tone of the market," said Bryon Burke, head dealer at Craigs Investment Partners. "The analysts' forecasts are being met so the market is fairly pricing the securities - there are no shocks."

F&P Appliances, the home appliance manufacturer with sales in Europe, North America and Asia, led the gainers up 2.6 percent to 59 cents.

Ryman Healthcare, the retirement village operator, rose about 2 percent to $3.62. Fletcher Building, New Zealand's largest construction company, rose 2.2 percent to $6.54.

Telecom, the largest company on the NZX 50, rose 0.6 percent to $2.71. The telecommunications company's new chief executive Simon Moutter officially started the top job today, giving him almost two working weeks to get up to speed before Telecom's annual result is released.

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"The focus will remain on companies as they report," Burke said. "If they continue to meet analysts' forecasts the market will continue to be buoyant."

Xero, the cloud-based accounting platform provider, shed 2.1 percent to $5.10, while Diligent fell 0.3 percent to $3.85. The tech-companies joined the NZX 50 in June replacing struggling GPS-components maker Rakon and building supplies manufacturer Steel & Tube.

Vital Healthcare Property Trust, the health clinic investor, fell 0.4 percent to $1.24.

The decline was led by OceanaGold, operator of the Macraes gold field, which fell 3.5 percent to $2.77. PGG Wrightson, New Zealand's largest agricultural company, dropped 3 percent to 31 cents.

Shares in Burger Fuel fell 3 percent to 97 cents after the fast-food chain targeting growth in the Middle East appointed Tyrone Foley as its new chief operating officer, effective from September. Foley previously worked for McDonalds and BP Oil New Zealand.

(BusinessDesk)

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