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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares rise; Fletcher up on housing data

MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares rise; Fletcher up on housing data, Fonterra climbs

Sept. 2 (BusinessDesk) – New Zealand shares rose as data showing a jump in Australian home values helped lift Fletcher Building and Fonterra Shareholders’ Fund rose as export production began at the world’s biggest milk powder drier.

The NZX 50 Index rose 55.387 points, or 1.2 percent, to 4596.357. Within the index, 31 stocks rose, 10 fell and nine were unchanged. Turnover was $88 million.

Fletcher, which gets 43 percent of sales in Australia, rose 2.9 percent to $9.01, a five-month high, after figures showed the biggest gain in national dwelling values across the Tasman since April 2010, while approvals to build new homes jumped about 11 percent in July. Australia was the black spot in Fletcher’s full-year earnings release last month, when it forecast “no significant volume growth.”

“Growth in housing and construction is getting stronger” in Australia, said Greg Easton, an adviser at Craigs Investment Partners. “The Australian market is having a really positive day and that’s rubbing off over here.”

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index was up 1 percent in afternoon trading, helped by the housing data and figures showing China’s manufacturing sector activity is stronger than expected.

Fonterra rose 1.3 percent to $7.05. The dairy company’s Darfield Drier Two, the world’s largest such plant, produced its first batches of whole milk powder last week. It has capacity to produce up to 30 metric tonnes of whole milk powder per hour, and 700 metric tonnes per day. The stock dropped as low as $6.50 early this month in the wake of a contamination scare that proved to be groundless.

“Fonterra has certainly shaken off that scandal,” Easton said.

Fisher & Paykel Healthcare gained 3.4 percent to $3.68 as the kiwi dollar held below 78 US cents. The manufacturer of respirators and breathing masks gets about 50 percent of its sales in US dollars.

Tourism Holdings, the campervan rental company, rose 4.6 percent to 69 cents as 9.5 percent of the shares changed hands, including 8.5 million shares traded at 68 cents. As at the close of trading, no substantial security holder notices had been filed.

Skellerup Holdings, the manufacturer of rubber goods and milking equipment, rose 5.3 percent to $1.60, the highest level since February. The shares have rallied since the company posted its full-year earnings on Aug. 22, beating its guidance.

Heartland New Zealand, the nation’s newest lender, rose 3.5 percent to 88 cents. PGG Wrightson, the rural services company controlled by China’s Agria Corp, disclosed on Friday that it sold 13.18 million shares in Heartland to reduce debt.

Xero, the cloud-based accounting company, rose about 3 percent to $17.30 and Diligent Board Member Services gained 2.8 percent to $4.82.

Telecom fell 1.3 percent to $2.245 after saying its new data centre in Auckland would cost $60 million and be funded out of its 2015 capex budget.


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