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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares rise, led by Air NZ, Infratil, NZOG

MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares rise, led by Air NZ, Infratil, NZOG on ECB optimism

By Hannah Lynch

Sept. 6 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand shares rose, led by Air New Zealand, Infratil and NZ Oil & Gas on optimism the European Central Bank is going to act to support the European economy, helping underpin demand for so-called growth assets.

The NZX 50 Index rose 23.89 points, or 0.7 percent, to 3693.54. Within the index, 35 shares rose, seven gained and eight were unchanged. Turnover was about $131 million.

Air New Zealand rose 3.2 percent to $1.11 and is up about 19 percent this year. The national carrier last week beat estimates with a 12 percent drop in annual profit to $71 million.

"The gain is probably following on from its strong result," Craig Brown, senior investment analyst at One Path New Zealand. "It's always a business which has difficultly in forecasting earnings - investors are feeling that positive momentum.

Infratil, the infrastructure investment firm, rose 2.4 percent to $2.14. Auckland International Airport, the country's major gateway, climbed 1.2 percent to $2.60.

Telecom, New Zealand’s largest listed company, rose 0.4 percent to $2.46. Ryman Healthcare, New Zealand's largest retirement village operator, climbed 1 percent to $3.89.

Warehouse Group, the biggest retailer on the NZX 50, rose 0.7 percent to $2.90 ahead of its earnings tomorrow.

The decline was led by Kathmandu, the outdoor clothing retailer that posts its results on Sept. 20, down 4.3 percent to $1.79, having been one of the retailers bid up earlier in the week. The stock has gained about 7 percent this year.

"The share price has enjoyed a strong run," Brown said. "I just wonder whether some existing shareholders have decided it went too far and are selling ahead of the result."

Briscoe Group, the home and sporting goods retailer, fell 0.5 percent to $1.95, the stock has gained about 45 percent this year. It posted a 29 percent increase in half-year profit to $13.3 million. Sales rose about 5.5 percent to about $205 million.

PGG Wrightson, the country's biggest rural services company, fell 2.9 percent to 35 cents. Cavalier, New Zealand's only listed carpet maker, declined 3.8 percent to $1.75.

OceanaGold, which operates the Macraes goldfield near Dunedin, shed 2.8 percent to $3.29.

Shares in Comvita rose 2.7 percent to a five-year high close of $3.80 after the honey products company detailed the results of a small medical study, yet to be peer-reviewed, showing its olive leaf extract boosts the effectiveness of insulin in overweight, middle-aged men at risk of diabetes.


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