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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares rise; Goodman Fielder, Contact gain

MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares rise; Goodman Fielder narrows loss, Contact beats estimates

By Hannah Lynch

Aug. 14 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand shares rose for a the third day, led by Goodman Fielder after the food maker narrowed its loss and Contact Energy posted earnings that beat estimates.

The NZX 50 index climbed 13.91 points, or 0.4 percent, to 3608.88. Within the index, 27 stocks rose, 13 fell and 10 were unchanged. Turnover was $91.6 million.

Goodman Fielder rose 4.8 percent to 65 cents. The Sydney-based branded food and ingredients company posted a narrower full-year loss as it presses on with asset sales and rationalises its line-up of businesses in a subdued Australasian market. The annual loss of A$146.9 million was down from a loss of A$166.7 million a year earlier.

"While the result was at the bottom end of the guidance range - it was ‘less worse’ than people were expecting," said Mark Lister, head of private wealth research at Craigs Investment Partners. “There are still a lot of challenges across the whole industry." Still, “markets like certainty so it’s a relief when companies do what they say they will."

Contact rose 0.6 percent to $4.88. The country’s biggest listed electricity generator and retailer beat expectations, lifting annual profit by 27 percent to $190.4 million.

"It's a decent result compared to expectations - though we heard little about company guidance and forecasts," Lister said. "It's still a stock people want to see further results for before they get excited."

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Freightways, the courier and data management group, rose 1.5 percent to $3.97 after it yesterday posted a 24 percent gain in full-year profit to $37 million, beating estimates.

Telecom, the largest company in the NZX 50, rose 1.3 percent to $2.74.

The decline was led by PGG Wrightson, New Zealand's largest agricultural company, down 3.2 percent to 30 cents. NZX, the stock exchange regulator, shed 1.7 percent to $1.13.

Tower, the insurance company controlled by Guinness Peat Group, shed 1.14 percent to $1.74, while GPG was unchanged on 50 cents.

New Zealand Wine Company, whose shares are listed on the NZX alternative market, closed the day unchanged on 92 cents. Shareholders voted in favour of a merger with Foley Family Wines, which is owned by California-based billionaire Bill Foley.

Opus International Consultants, the engineering firm with one of four mandates to lead design the rebuild of Christchurch city, fell 2.4 percent to $2.05. Last yesterday the company reported a 4.8 percent drop in first-half profit, below expectations, in a weak and uncertain global economy.


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