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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares rise; Trade Me, F&P gain

MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares rise; Trade Me, F&P gain; CBL soars on debut

By Suze Metherell

Oct. 13 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand shares rose, led by Trade Me Group and Fisher & Paykel Healthcare, as the local market's consistency attracts investors after a volatile September quarter. Insurer CBL Corp debuted at a premium to its sale price.

The S&P/NZX 50 Index advanced 12.98 points, or 0.2 percent, to 5702.81. Within the index, 15 stocks rose, 26 fell and nine were unchanged. Turnover was $151.3 million.

The benchmark index has gained 2.2 percent this month, erasing some of last quarter's 3.5 percent decline, when a pessimistic outlook for global growth weighed on local investor sentiment. Larger stocks with heavier trading activity led today's gainers, with Trade Me, the auction house and New Zealand's 15th largest listed company, up 2.8 percent to $3.71. F&P Healthcare, the breathing apparatus manufacturer and the fifth largest stock, climbed 2 percent to $7.20. Ryman Healthcare, the retirement village operator and the seventh biggest stock, advanced 1.8 percent to $7.28. Auckland International Airport, New Zealand's largest listed company, rose 1.4 percent to $4.85.

"The market isn't under a lot of pressure," said Nigel Scott, director at Craigs Investment Partners. "Investors remain comfortable that the market has been a consistent performer since the fall back of the US about a month ago now. The New Zealand story is just more consistent at the moment."

Outside the benchmark index, CBL, the credit surety and financial risk insurer, advanced 14 percent to $1.77 in its NZX debut. The shares sold in its initial public offering price at $1.55, the lower end of the range. The $125 million offer came during a period marked by volatile markets as investors weighed the outlook for the US Federal Reserve to hike rates for the first time in a decade, while nervousness about China's growth outlook spooked traders from equities as an asset class.

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"The pricing was done when macro events were certainly seeing the market get whacked, so the pricing in the book build and IPO process was done when the market was taking a relative walloping," said James Smalley, director at Hamilton Hindin Greene. That meant the managers of the offer priced the stock more conservatively than they otherwise might have.

"Because of improved sentiment in markets that's why we're seeing the price up," Smalley said. "It just shows you how quickly sentiment can change on the stock market."

Fletcher Building, the construction and building supplies company, fell 1.1 percent to $7.18. Spark New Zealand, the telecommunications company, fell 0.5 percent to $3.05.

Augusta Capital, the listed property and funds manager, rose 0.5 percent to 97.5 cents. It has bought a 15 level building in central Auckland for $16.5 million from Cook Property Group.


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