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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares rise, led by Nuplex and AIA

Wednesday 9th June 2010

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New Zealand shares rose from an 11-month low after Nuplex (NZX: NPX ) said it is on track for record earnings and Auckland International Airport (NZX: AIA ) announced a new service to Singapore.

The NZX 50 rose 11.13, or 0.4%, to 3000.10, having dropped below 3000 yesterday for the first time since July 2009. Within the index, 18 stocks rose, 10 fell and 22 were unchanged. Turnover was a lower-than-average $54 million, which is less than the value of trading in Australian blood products group CSL alone on the ASX today.

Trading was subdued ahead of the Reserve Bank’s Monetary Policy Statement tomorrow, which is forecast to include the first increase in the official cash rate for three years ahead of a predicted spike in inflation next year and potential for a broader pickup in prices.

Nuplex, the specialty chemicals maker, gained about 4% to $2.88, leading the benchmark index higher. The company said earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization may rise to $125 million to $135 million this year, from $91.5 million last year, helped by improved margins and increased demand.

Auckland Airport climbed 1.6% to $1.86. The airport is to become part of a daily return link with Singapore from March next year for Jetstar, the low-fare unit of Qantas.

"This news is very consistent with our own Asian tourism growth ambitions,” said airport chief executive Simon Moutter.  The new service “offers the New Zealand tourism industry a fantastic opportunity to link up with the rapidly expanding low-cost carrier network and markets in Asia.”

Tourism Holdings (NZX: THL ), the campervan rental company, gained 3.9% to 81 cents.

Air New Zealand (NZX: AIR ) gained 1.8% to $1.16 after the national airline told the Dominion Post it will raise domestic fares by between $1 and $2 to cover the cost of the emissions trading scheme which starts on July 1 and to cover higher fuel costs.

Michael Hill (NZX: MHI ) rose 1.5% to 67 cents, recovering some of the 5.7% it shed yesterday after announcing the closure of half of its 17 unprofitable US stores acquired in 2008.

Infratil (NZX: IFT ) fell 0.6% to $1.59. The company’s shareholders today approved a new constitution that will allow it to dual list on the ASX.

OceanaGold (NZX: OGC ), the operator of the Macraes gold field, edged up 0.2% to $4.27 as the price of gold neared a record on demand for the precious metal as a haven amid Europe’s ongoing debt crisis. Gold for immediate delivery rose to as high as US$1,240.85 an ounce, having reached a record US$1,252.11 yesterday.

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