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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares up, Auckland Airport and Westpac gain while Heartland, Fletcher dip

Thursday 5th July 2018

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New Zealand shares rose in light trading, led higher by Auckland International Airport and Westpac Banking Corp, with Heartland Bank and Fletcher Building softening.

The S&P/NZX50 Index gained 37.21 points, or 0.4 percent, to 9,062.85. Within the index, 23 stocks rose, 19 fell and eight were unchanged. Turnover was $97 million.

"It has been a pretty dull old day really," said Grant Williamson, director at Hamilton Hindin Greene. The NZX50 has gained 1.3 percent this week, despite trading being light ahead of local school holidays and with few corporate announcements, and Williamson said "just a few stocks have pushed the index" up to its current levels.

Auckland Airport led the index higher, up 2.4 percent to $6.93. Westpac gained 2.1 percent to $32.30, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group rose 2 percent to $31.36, and Trustpower rallied 1.8 percent to $5.75.

A2 Milk Co gained 1.3 percent to $11.55. Its new managing director and chief executive Jayne Hrdlicka will start on July 16, replacing Geoff Babidge who had been in the role since 2010.

The worst performer was Heartland Bank, down 2.3 percent to $1.71. Fletcher Building dropped 2.1 percent to $6.85 and Skellerup Holdings fell 1 percent to $1.96.

Ebos Group dipped 0.5 percent to $20.70. The share price has surged from $17.95 since Monday, when it announced a distribution deal with Australia's Chemist Warehouse which could bring in A$1 billion of revenue in the first year. The two expect to sign a five-year supply agreement, starting July 2019, which could potentially be extended by three years, after Ebos won the tender to be the exclusive third-party distributor of pharmaceutical products to over 400 Chemist Warehouse and My Chemist stores in Australia.

"Ebos has had such a fine run since announcing picked that up, it's risen 15 percent and it's given half a percent back today," Williamson said.

CBL Corp remained suspended at $3.17. It was removed from the NZX50 benchmark index in the June rebalancing, replaced by Skellerup. The administrators said an agreement has been reached to sell its UK-based Professional Fee Protection business to US private equity firms Highbridge Principal Strategies and Madison Dearborn Partners. The sale terms were not disclosed and the deal is subject to regulatory approval.

Auckland-based CBL Corp had its stock suspended from the NZX on Feb. 8 amid concerns from NZX Regulation about the information it had given the market, following engagement between it, CBL, the Financial Markets Authority, the Reserve Bank, and a number of overseas regulators with prudential oversight of CBL’s international insurance business. 

(BusinessDesk)

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