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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares rise; Freightways, Sky TV, Z gain

MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares rise; Freightways, Sky TV, Z gain, Kathmandu drops as Briscoe offer lapses

By Suze Metherell

Sept. 18 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand shares rose after the US Federal Reserve kept interest rates on hold, keeping alive the appeal of returns from equity markets. Freightways, Sky Network Television and Z Energy rose. Warehouse Group advanced after beating earnings guidance.

The S&P/NZX 50 Index gained 17.81 points, or 0.3 percent, to 5712.04. Within the index, 28 stocks rose, 17 fell and five were unchanged. Turnover was $231 million.

The Fed kept interest rates near zero percent, saying turmoil in global financial markets is threatening the world's biggest economy, and lowering the track of future hikes. Markets were buoyed by the decision, as a hike may see investors move their investments from equities to less risky assets. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index gained 0.9 percent in afternoon trading.

"All eyes were on the Fed to see what they would be doing with interest rates, and it pretty much came to what the consensus was by leaving them unchanged," said Grant Williamson, director at Hamilton Hindin Greene. "That's bought a little bit of buying into the local market and other markets."

Freightways, the logistics and courier firm, led the benchmark index higher, up 4.5 percent to $5.58. Sky TV, the country's dominant pay television provider, advanced 1.4 percent to $4.95. Z Energy, the petrol station chain, gained 2 percent to $6.05. Kiwi Property Group, the property investor, increased 1.9 percent to $1.33. Spark New Zealand, formerly Telecom Corp, rose 0.2 percent to $3.20.

Warehouse advanced 0.8 percent to $2.62. The country's largest listed retailer posted a 5.9 percent decline in annual profit to $57.1 million, a smaller drop than it had projected, as earnings recovered in the second half. Warehouse is focusing on reducing costs and improving productivity as it seeks to getting higher returns from the hundreds of millions of dollars spent overhauling stores and buying new business the past few years.

"It was pretty much in line with what was expected - they beat guidance a little bit but the forward guidance is still nothing that's overly positive that investors can get their teeth into," Williamson said. "The company still has got a lot of work to do to get back to earnings levels they achieved a number of years ago."

Kathmandu Holdings, the outdoor goods retailer, was the worst performer on the benchmark dropping 8.5 percent to $1.40. Briscoe Group's offer for outdoor clothing retailer Kathmandu Holdings has lapsed after attracting a paltry 2.27 percent of acceptances with a price that was at a steep premium to the market price, at $1.80. Briscoe fell 1.3 percent to $2.95 outside the benchmark index.

"Briscoes do have a significant stake in Kathmandu," Williamson said. "The pressure will be on the Kathmandu management to get that performance improved."

SkyCity Entertainment Group, New Zealand's only listed casino company, was unchanged at $3.88 after it said it has resource consent approval for the convention centre.

Hellaby Holdings rose 3.7 percent to $3.09. The diversified investor has appointed former Abano Healthcare Group boss Alan Clarke as its next chief executive, replacing the long-serving John Williamson in November.

Outside the benchmark index, Rakon sank 10 percent to 30 cents after saying 2016 earnings would be in line with those posted in 2015 as a global slowdown weighed on its telecommunications infrastructure unit.


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