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MARKET CLOSE NZ shares rise, paced by Fletcher, Telecom

MARKET CLOSE NZ shares rise, paced by Fletcher, Telecom, Skellerup before results

By Hannah Lynch

Aug. 21 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand shares rose to a 4 ½-year high, with Fletcher Building, Telecom and Skellerup Holdings gained ahead of results investors are betting will show local companies are resilient in a tepid economy.

The NZX 50 Index rose 26.64 points, or 0.7 percent, to 3687.73, the highest since February 2008. Within the index, 28 stocks rose, 13 fell and 9 were unchanged. Turnover was a smaller-than-average $80.9 million.

Fletcher, New Zealand largest construction company, gained 1.8 percent to $6.66. Its full-year results are set for release on Wednesday and will show an 18 percent increase in sales and a 0.7 percent rise in earnings before interest depreciation and amortisation, according to brokerage Forsyth Barr.

"Going into the result people have high hopes that they will meet guidance and provide an update on the Christchurch rebuild but it could go either way," said Mark Lister, head of private wealth research at Craigs Investment Partners. "The bar is high - the more that share price goes up the less room there is for disappointment."

Telecom, the biggest company on the exchange, rose 2.4 percent to $2.80 and has gained about 30 percent this year. It will post its full-year results on Friday and Forsyth Barr analyst Guy Hallwright has forecast a 14 percent increase in sales to $4.7 billion and a 37 percent rise in reported profit to $330 million.

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Chorus, the telecommunications network operator spun out of Telecom last year, was unchanged on $3.25.

Skellerup, the rubber goods and milking equipment manufacturer, rose 2 percent to $1.53. Its full-year results will be released tomorrow. Forsyth Barr has forecast a 9.4 percent increase in sales and a 19.6 percent increase in reported profit.

New Zealand Oil and Gas was unchanged on 84 cents before its result. Forsyth analyst Andrew Harvey-Green has predicted an 8.5 percent increase in sales to $118.2 million and a 17 percent lift in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation to $64.7 million.

The gainers were led by, Fisher and Paykel Appliances up 4.8 percent to 66 cents.

Summerset Group fell 4.1 percent to $1.87 even after the retirement village operator beat first-half profit estimates as it squeezed a fatter margin from its developments, which have largely been brought in-house. Net profit was $3.9 million in the six months ended June 30, compared to a loss of $1 million a year earlier. The stock has gained about 45 this year.

Rival retirement operator, Ryman fell 0.8 percent to $3.58. The stock has gained about 34 percent this year.

Ebos Group fell 1.9 percent to $7.90. The medical equipment and consumables distributor that expanded into pet products last year will continue to target growth in its animal health business after the acquisition of the Masterpet business helped lift annual profit by 19 percent to $27.9 million.

The decline was led by Kathmandu, the outdoor clothing retailer, down 3.4 percent to $1.72.

Sanford declined 0.3 percent to $3.94.The US Justice Department said James Pogue, former chief engineer on Sanford’s tuna vessel San Nikunau, faces up to 26 years in jail for obstruction of justice and knowingly failing to maintain an accurate oil record book.

(BusinessDesk)

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