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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares rise, led by Skellerup, NZR

MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares rise, led by Skellerup, NZR on results, outlook

Aug. 23 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand shares rose, led by Skellerup Holdings, after the rubber goods manufacturer posted record earnings, while NZ Refining gained on comments its refinery margins have improved after shrinking last year.

The NZX 50 Index rose 4.96 points, or 0.1 percent, to 3663.34. Within the index, 24 stocks rose, 14 fell and 12 were unchanged. Turnover was $80.1 million.

Skellerup rose 6 percent to a record close of $1.59 after posting a record annual profit that beat its own guidance and raised its dividend as new products and low debt levels shielded it from an economic downturn in some markets.

“Skellerup was a stand-out,” said Greg Easton, an adviser at Craigs Investment Partners. “Over the last few months people have been stocking very much to the blue chips. Now with these good results they’re starting to look wider.”

NZ Refining, which operates the nation’s only oil refinery, climbed 3.9 percent to $2.70. The company posted a first-half loss of $1.5 million, partly reflecting a drop in its average gross refinery margin was US$4.36 a barrel from US$6.56 in the first half of last year. Margins have improved slightly since the end of the year, it said.

“Things are on the up again, which is positive,” Easton said.

Fisher & Paykel Appliances, the manufacturer of dishwashers, ovens and fridges, rose 3.8 percent to 68 cents after giving a market update in which it forecast a recovery in earnings from its appliances business this year because it doesn’t expect a repeat of last year’s hedging losses.

Postie Plus Group, the clothing retailer, fell 4.6 percent to 21 cents after announcing that chief executive Ron Boskell will step down in January after seven years leading the clothing retailer, to “make way for further renewal in the management team.”

Vector, the electricity and gas lines company, was unchanged at $2.70 after reporting underlying revenue was up 5 percent and underlying profit gained 16 percent.

Metlifecare, the retirement village operator, rose 2.4 percent to $2.61 after writing down the value of its property portfolio by $99.8 million, as expected, resulting in a full-year loss of $141.7 million.

South Port New Zealand rose 0.3 percent to $3.28 after the operator of the nation’s southern-most port reported a 4.3 percent drop in full-year profit, reflecting costs to cope with increased cargo volumes and higher insurance premiums. Total cargo through the port was at a record level for a second year.

Telecom, the largest company on the exchange, fell 0.7 percent to $2.75 ahead of its results tomorrow. The shares are up 36 percent this year.

Tower, the insurance group, gained 1.1 percent to $1.79after its Australian listed rival Insurance Australia Group, which has the State Insurance, AMI, and NZI brands, reported a jump in profit in New Zealand and gave an upbeat outlook statement.

PGG Wrightson, the nation’s biggest rural services company, rose 2.9 percent to 36 cents following its announcement yesterday that it returned to profit in the 2012 financial year on a 40 percent gain in earnings from its services unit.

(BusinessDesk)

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