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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares rise as A2 hits new record

MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares rise as A2 hits new record, Metro Glass recovers; Z Energy falls

By Sophie Boot

Oct. 4 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand shares gained, led higher by A2 Milk Co hitting a new record and Metro Performance Glass extending its recovery from a record low this week.

The S&P/NZX50 Index rose 16.27 points, or 0.2 percent, to 7,949.69. Within the index, 26 stocks rose, 20 fell and four were unchanged. Turnover was $153 million.

"At the moment, there's very limited corporate news and no real driver," said David Price, a broker at Forsyth Barr. "A lot of the stuff happening at the moment really is programme flow, the domestics are very, very quiet. It has sort of become self-fulfilling - unless anything gets driven a long way, people tend to do nothing. They don't always need to buy and sell every day, but they have the bands where they buy and sell - if it doesn't hit either side they don't do anything."

A2 Milk led the index, up 5 percent to $6.87, a fresh record, while Synlait Milk dropped 1.5 percent to $6.45. The two stocks had jumped since last Thursday on confirmation that their brands and recipes have gained registration in China, removing an obstacle in a market with soaring sales, before both giving up gains yesterday. They have had strong years so far, rising 207 percent and 110 percent respectively.

Metro Performance Glass gained 2 percent to $1.02. The shares hit a record low of 98 cents on Monday, and have fallen more than 50 percent over the past year, with two sharp drops in February and August this year as outlook worsened.

"There hasn't been any new news there, but I think there are people who've got a lot of jaundice with the story so you've seen them exiting - but at the same time, you've got people who believe in the turnaround," Price said. "The volume is pretty light, and I never put too much into light volume."

Sky Network Television rose 2.2 percent to $2.84, and Kathmandu Holdings gained 1.7 percent to $2.40.

NZX gained 0.9 percent to $1.19. Total equity trades on the NZX climbed 26 percent while the value of trading fell 2 percent in September, which marked the fourth straight month without any new equity capital raisings on the local bourse. Trades of less than $50,000 rose about 28 percent.

Meridian Energy advanced 0.2 percent to $2.87. Shareholder Peter Wakeman wants his fellow investors to back two proposals which would see the country's biggest electricity generator, which only own renewable hydro and wind generation assets, to investigate other ways to cut carbon emissions and lobby the government to finance climate initiatives without debt.

Wellington-based Meridian is hosting its annual meeting on Oct. 26 at its headquarters on the capital city's waterfront. While the usual votes on director appointments and reappointments are scheduled, investors will also vote on two proposals put forward by their peer, neither of which have the board's blessing.

Z Energy was the worst performer, down 2 percent to $7.23, while Australia & New Zealand Banking Group fell 1.4 percent to $32.12.

Property for Industry dropped 1.5 percent to $1.645. It has bought nine properties for $69.5 million to extend the average lease term of its existing portfolio and acquire development opportunities in the future and will pay for the deal through a discounted rights issue.


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