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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares up, Kathmandu and A2 lead gains

MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares up, Kathmandu and A2 lead gains while Pushpay, Rakon rally on earnings

By Sophie Boot

Nov. 16 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand shares rose, led higher by Kathmandu Holdings and A2 Milk Co, while CBL Corp dropped.

The S&P/NZX50 Index gained 34.76 points, or 0.4 percent, to 8,034.7. Within the index, 26 stocks rose, 19 fell and five were unchanged. Turnover was $190 million.

"There's not a lot going on today, some stocks are regaining ground they lost yesterday," said Grant Williamson, broker at Hamilton Hindin Greene. "There's a bit of buying activity in A2 and Synlait which obviously helps the index somewhat."

Kathmandu Holdings led the index, up 2.5 percent to $2.44. Z Energy gained 2.4 percent to $7.70 and Metro Performance Glass rose 2.3 percent to 88 cents.

A2 Milk Co gained 2.1 percent to $7.79 while Synlait Milk advanced 1.9 percent to $7.08.

CBL Corp was the worst performer, down 1.3 percent to $3.04. Vector dropped 1.2 percent to $3.31 and Port of Tauranga fell 0.9 percent to $4.54.

Outside the benchmark index, Pushpay Holdings rose 3.1 percent to $3.37. The mobile payments app company's results released today show the Auckland-domiciled, US-headquartered company's loss widened to US$12.5 million in the six months ended Sept. 30, from US$11.3 million a year earlier, while revenue more than doubled to US$29.7 million from US$12.1 million.

Pushpay says it's planning on a US listing and likely a capital raising within the next 15 months, but that won't mean de-listing from the NZX or ASX.

Steel & Tube Holdings dropped 1 percent to $2.04. Its first-half earnings may fall as much as 38 percent, reflecting a write-down of inventory, restructuring costs and margin pressures. The guidance came as the company holds its annual meeting in Wellington.

First-half earnings before interest and tax would be $9-to-$10 million below the year-earlier period, it said in a statement. Underlying ebit was about $16 million in the first half of the 2017 year.

"The market is not too surprised," Williamson said. "Steel prices are having to be moved up by distributors because underlying steel prices have moved higher and they're trying to re-capture margins, but it takes time to flow through."

Rakon gained 7 percent to 23 cents. The Auckland-based company turned to a first-half profit of $908,000 from a $5.7 million loss a year earlier, citing growth across the technology company's key markets, improved margins and lower costs.

"That was signalled a wee while ago, it certainly seems to be improving but off a very low base," Williamson said. "Investors will be a little bit relieved there."

(BusinessDesk)

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