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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares gain

Wednesday 28 September 2016 05:32 PM

MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares gain, led by Chorus, Orion Health, Air NZ while Tower drops again

By Sophie Boot

Sept. 28 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand shares rose, with Chorus, Orion Health Group and Air New Zealand recovering losses, while Tower resumed its fall.

The S&P/NZX 50 Index gained 37.53 points, or 0.5 percent, to 7,290.45. Within the index, 22 stocks rose, 15 fell and 13 were unchanged. Turnover was $119.6 million.

Daniel Metcalfe, a senior investment advisor at OMF, said it was a "dull day" for the local index, without much news from NZX50 participants. Markets overnight had been focussed on the first US presidential candidate debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, he said. Wall Street rallied after the debate, with the perception that Clinton had won the first of three debates bolstering confidence in equities.

Markets across Asia were generally lower in the afternoon's trading, with Japan's Nikkei 225 down 1.6 percent, Hong Kong's Hang Seng falling 0.7 percent, and Australia's S&P/ASX200 Index 0.1 percent lower at 5:05pm local time.

Chorus was the best performer on the local index, up 2.7 percent to $3.88. It has rebounded this week, up 4 percent, having fallen 19 percent since it announced its full-year results on Aug. 29. The telecommunications network operator said at the time that lower regulated pricing for access to its copper services was responsible for full-year profit stalling, although it sees a resumption of growth in 2017.

Orion Health Group gained 1.8 percent to $3.35, bouncing back from yesterday when it was the worst performer on the index and fell 4.6 percent. At its annual meeting last Thursday, chairman Andrew Ferrier told shareholders the strength of the kiwi is crimping revenue in local currency terms, meaning Orion will get less when sales are converted back into local currency. That currency movement also weighed on Orion's cash position.

Air New Zealand gained 1.4 percent to $1.875. The airline's annual shareholder's meeting will be held on Friday afternoon in Christchurch. It hit a 22-month low on Monday and has fallen 30 percent this year, as rising oil prices and increasing competition on its domestic and international routes have played on investors' minds.

Auckland International Airport rose 0.4 percent, or 3 cents, to $7.13. It gave up the rights to a 9 cent final dividend, payable on Oct. 13.

Tegel Group Holdings was the worst performer, down 3.7 percent to $1.55.

Tower dropped 1.5 percent to 96 cents. Earlier this month, the insurer's shares hit a then-12-year low of $1.11 after it warned it expects a $16.2 million hit to its after-tax profit due to increased claims provisions for the Canterbury earthquake following greater-than-expected new claims from the Earthquake Commission and increased litigation and customer disputes. It also signalled it will review its dividend and its dividend policy at its full-year earnings result. The shares have plunged 48.7 percent this year.

Outside the main index, Intueri Education Group recovered, up 66.7 percent to 10 cents. The private education group's shares collapsed on Tuesday, slumping 80 percent in response to a warning about Australian government audits that threatened its viability. This afternoon, it told investors it retains the support of its lender, ANZ Bank.

Intueri has until Oct. 21 to respond to the audit, with possible outcomes ranging from a directive to correct areas of non-compliance through to the full cancellation of its Australian business registrations as registered training organisations (RTOs). One of the businesses, OCA, accounted for 35 percent of Intueri's $50.1 million of revenue in the six months ended June 30.

OceanaGold dropped 13.2 percent to $4.13. The company said it is seeking clarification from the Philippines government after officials from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources named the company's Didipio site among mining operations that could be suspended because of outstanding social issues.

"I'm surprised it hasn't been reflected in the share price up until now, OceanaGold has had problems setting up in the Philippines and there have been issues before," OMF's Metcalfe said.



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