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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares gain, led by Kathmandu

MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares gain, led by Kathmandu, F&P Healthcare; Fonterra drops

Aug 5 (BusinessDesk) – New Zealand shares rose after the kiwi dollar fell, helping companies with offshore sales including Kathmandu, Fisher & Paykel Healthcare, Fletcher Building and Mainfreight. Fonterra Shareholders’ Fund fell in the fall-out from the dairy company’s whey contamination scare.

The NZX 50 Index edged up 6.594 points, or 0.1 percent, to 4589.485. Within the index, 25 stocks fell, 15 rose and 10 were unchanged. Turnover was $130 million.

The kiwi dollar dropped against the greenback, reaching a month low, and the Australian dollar when financial markets opened following Fonterra Cooperative Group’s announcements over the weekend.

Kathmandu, which counts Australia as its largest market, rose 3.9 percent to $2.68. Fletcher Building, which gets about half its earnings in Australia, rose 1.6 percent to $8.54. Mainfreight gained 0.7 percent to $10.36.

F&P Healthcare rose 2.5 percent to $3.71, a six-year high. The maker of respirators and breathing masks gets more than 50 percent of its sales in US dollars and also got a boost last week when rival ResMed posted strong sales growth.

“The weakness in the kiwi-US and the cross rate would have helped them today,” said James Smalley, a director at Hamilton Hindin Greene.

Still, “most people’s eyes were on what’s going on with Fonterra,” he said. “The market had a big knee-jerk reaction and gradually recovered during the day. People will be trying to assess the long-term damage.”

The Fonterra fund fell 3.7 percent to $6.86, closing above its volume weighted average price for the day of $6.69 .Some 9 million units changed hands, compared to a typical daily average of closer to 500,000. Fonterra chief executive Theo Spierings expressed regret at a Chinese media conference for consumer anxiety caused by revelations that batches of whey protein had been contaminated.

Among other listed dairy companies, Synlait Milk ended the day down 0.4 percent to $2.70, recovering some ground from a deeper intraday decline. A2 Corp ended the day unchanged at 67 cents, having fallen at the start of the day.

Property for Industry slipped 0.4 percent to $1.385. Property for Industry, which doubled in size following a merger, posted an 8.8 percent increase in first-half rental income and said profit was lifted by non-cash valuation changes and a smaller tax bill. Distributable profit was little changed at $$7.59 million.

NZX, the market operator, was unchanged at $1.34 after reporting that cash trading continued to slow in July, with 93,780 trades for a total value of $2.6 billion, or $111 million a day. While up 35 percent in volume terms and 12 percent in value terms from a year earlier, it was down from $2.7 billion of trades for a daily average of $141 million in June.

Postie Plus Group, the clothing retailer, was untraded at 15.5 cents after announcing it had appointed No 1 Shoes executive Richard Binns as its new chief executive.

Telecom declined 1.1 percent to $2.30 and Port of Tauranga fell 1 percent to $14.35.


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