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MARKET CLOSE: NZ stocks advance on yield demand

MARKET CLOSE: NZ stocks advance on yield demand; Spark, Genesis, Kiwi Property gain

By Suze Metherell

Oct. 16 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand shares rose as investors looking for yield pushed equities higher. Spark New Zealand, Genesis Energy and Kiwi Property Group advanced.

The S&P/NZX 50 Index rose 44.3 points, or 0.8 percent, to 5820.01. Within the index, 35 stocks rose, seven fell and six were unchanged. Turnover was $170 million.

Weaker than expected US retail sales and producer inflation data have fueled speculation the US Federal Reserve will keep rates at zero for the rest of the year. The prospect of lower rates for longer boosted investor demand for equities, and saw markets across Asia climb. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index climbed 1.4 percent in afternoon trading. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index advanced 0.6 percent and Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 0.5 percent.

Dividend-paying stocks gained. Genesis, the energy generator and retailer, advanced 1.9 percent to $1.84. Meridian Energy climbed 1.4 percent to $2.19. MightyRiverPower rose 0.8 percent to $2.56. Kiwi Property Group increased 1.9 percent to $1.325. Precinct Properties New Zealand advanced 0.9 percent to $1.19. Goodman Property Trust gained 0.4 percent to $1.19. Argosy Property rose 0.5 percent to $1.075. Spark, the telecommunications firm, climbed 2.4 percent to $3.20.

"There seems to be an increasing view that there's less likelihood that the Fed will put up rates this year and I think people have taken that as a positive," said Paul Harrison, Salt Funds Management, which helps manage more than $700 million of equities in New Zealand and Australia. "The cheap money is going to keep flowing through the equity market and the financial markets for a little longer."

Fletcher Building, the construction and building supplies firm, rose 0.8 percent to $7.24. Auckland International Airport, the nation's busiest gateway, gained 1.9 percent to $5.095. Warehouse Group, the country's largest listed retailer, climbed 2.3 percent to $2.66.

Units in Fonterra Shareholders' Fund, which give holders access to Fonterra Cooperative Group's dividend stream, fell 0.9 percent to $5.35. Fonterra, the world's largest dairy exporter, said milk production has dropped heading into the seasonal peak as suppliers to New Zealand's largest commodity exporter respond to low dairy prices by winding back their output.

Sky Network Television gained 1.4 percent to $5.17. The New Zealand Shareholders' Association will oppose Sky TV's bid to lift directors' fees 27 percent, with the retail investor lobby saying details around the hike are "woefully inadequate" and "potentially misleading".

Trade Me Group, the online auction website, was the worst performer on the benchmark index down 2.1 percent to $3.77.

Metro Performance Glass, the glass manufacturer, led the benchmark index higher up 4.2 percent to $1.48.

Outside the benchmark index, Kirkcaldie & Stains rose 2.3 percent to $2.25. Veteran corporate raider Ron Brierley has lifted his stake in the unprofitable Wellington department store for the third time since Australia's David Jones announced plans to take it over.


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