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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares jump 1.7% on heavier turnover as Xero leaves NZX

Wednesday 31st January 2018

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New Zealand shares rose on a busier day than usual, marking the final day of trading for one-time market darling Xero. SkyCity Entertainment Group, Air New Zealand and Sky Network Television gained.

The S&P/NZX50 climbed 143.43 points, or 1.7 percent, to 8,442.01. Within the index, 29 stocks rose, 15 fell and six were unchanged. Turnover was $216 million.

Software developer Xero delisted from the local bourse today, rising 0.3 percent to $34 on the NZX and 2.8 percent to A$31.18 on the Australian Securities Exchange. The stock left the benchmark index last year, but remained on the wider index until today. It is now only listed on the ASX. Since its initial public offering at $1 per share in June 2007, the stock has gained 3,300 percent. Its record close on the NZX was $44.98 on March 10, 2014, and while it was sold off heavily after that, it never dropped back below $13. Some 1.6 million NZX-listed shares in the stock traded hands today. 

"It's a sad day to be honest, but that's the way the cookie crumbles," said Anthony Halls, portfolio manager for equities and diversified income funds at Mint Asset Management

Stocks across Asia helped buoy the local market, with Australia's S&P/ASX 200 index up 0.3 percent and Hong Kong's Hang Seng gaining 0.4 percent as at  5:30pm local time. 

"The Australian market is up pretty positively as well, and Australian investors are a reasonable size participant in our market," Halls said. "The market really picked up when Asian markets opened this afternoon too." 

Today's gain on the NZX50 pushes the benchmark index up 0.5 percent for January, a month many market watchers expected to be negative after a series of down days. Based on yesterday's close, the index would have seen a 1.2 percent drop in the month, snapping the streak of gains made every month of 2017.

Turnover jumped today having been low through much of January in the post-Christmas, pre-earnings season lull. The highest previous turnover this month was $141 million on Jan. 10, with turnover most days closer to $100 million.

SkyCity Entertainment Group led the index, up 4.3 percent to $4.15. Air New Zealand gained 3.7 percent to $3.08 and Sky Network Television advanced 3.6 percent to $2.91. 

Fonterra Shareholders Fund dropped 2.4 percent to $6.20, making it the worst performer. Synlait Milk fell 1.6 percent to $7 and Kathmandu Holdings declined 1.2 percent to $2.43.

Outside the benchmark index, Augusta Capital was unchanged at $1.07. It will proceed with a planned $19.2 million development for Airways Corp after getting resource consent and funding approvals for the deal.

(BusinessDesk)

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