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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares rise, Fletcher at 6-month high

MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares rise, Fletcher at 6-month high on Aussie thaw

Sept. 3 (BusinessDesk) – New Zealand shares rose for a fourth session as Fletcher Building climbed to a six-month high on tentative signs of recovery in the Australian economy that’s lifted its building product rivals across the Tasman. Michael Hill International fell after Australian retail sales grew less than expected.

The NZX 50 Index rose 10.354 points, or 0.2 percent, to 4606.711, the highest close since late May. Within the index, 17 stocks rose, 25 fell and eight were unchanged. Turnover was $131 million.

Fletcher, the biggest company on the NZX 50, rose 2.7 percent to $9.25 and Australian rivals Boral and CSR both gained today. Figures this week showed the biggest gain in Australian national dwelling values since April 2010, while approvals to build new homes jumped about 11 percent in July.

“It is a reasonably hesitant recovery but there are signs of recovery in Australian,” said Shane Solly, portfolio manager at Mint Asset Management. “We’ve seen a bit of a bounce across the board with building stocks in Australia.”

The New Zealand market “survived earnings season in reasonable order, with very few major disappointments,” Solly said. “Our market is continuing to deliver a reasonably steady earnings outlook.”

Ebos Group, which doubled in size after buying Australian pharmaceutical wholesaler and distributor Symbion for $1.1 billion this year, rose 0.6 percent to $9.70.

Diligent Board member Services rose 4.8 percent to $5.05 after fund managers at Accident Compensation Corp disclosed an increase in their holding to 7.4 percent from 6.3 percent.

Michael Hill, the Brisbane-based jewellery chain, dropped 4.9 percent to $1.37. Australian retail sales rose 0.1 percent in July from a month earlier, a quarter of the pace expected by economists.

Sky Network Television rose 2.8 percent to $5.90 and Chorus edged up 0.7 percent to $2.97.

Bathurst Resources was unchanged at 20 cents after it came off a trading halt. The would-be coking coal miner raised $18.9 million at 18 cents apiece from existing institutional and eligible shareholders.

Precinct Properties was halted at $1.045 after the property investor said it planned to raise $50 million in an underwritten placement at $1 a share to institutions, and up to a further $20 million through a share purchase plan. The funds will go to repaying back debt and funding its medium-term projects.

Tourism Holdings fell 2.9 percent to 67 cents after Milford Asset Management emerged as its second-biggest shareholder, building a 14 percent stake in a $7.1 million spend-up yesterday. Utilico Investments was the biggest seller, exiting its entire 8.6 percent holding in the rental campervan operator.

Synlait Milk gained 1.5 percent to $3.29 after the dairy processor raised its forecast payout to the farmgate to $8 per kilogram of milk solids from $7/kgms previously, while affirming its forecast earnings on the strength of commodity prices and its increased processing volumes.

Units in the Fonterra Shareholders’ Fund slipped 0.1 percent to $7.04 after ANZ figures showed the price of skim and whole milk powder continued to rise in August.

Air New Zealand fell 1.1 percent to $1.415 after getting Australian Competition and Consumer Commission approval for a five-year extension to its trans-Tasman alliance with Virgin Australia. The extension is conditional on the airlines maintaining capacity on certain routes.

(BusinessDesk)

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