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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares rise with intl markets; ANZ, Genesis, SkyCity gain, Steel & Tube drops

Thursday 17th March 2016

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New Zealand shares rose, following international markets, with Australia & New Zealand Banking Group, Genesis Energy and SkyCity Entertainment Group leading the index. Steel & Tube fell as regulators investigate the manner in which it certified its earthquake reinforcing mesh.

The S&P/NZX 50 advanced 10.5 points, or 0.16 percent, to 6,573.46. Within the index, 23 stocks rose, 15 fell and 12 were unchanged. Turnover was $205 million. 

The local market lagged behind the rest of Asia on this session's trading. At 5.15pm New Zealand time, Australia's ASX 200 was up 1.2 percent, Hong Kong's Hang Seng had gained 1.4 percent and Japan's Nikkei 225 had risen 0.6 percent.

"We saw a strong rebound in oil prices overnight," said Mark Lister, head of private wealth research at Craigs Investment Partners. "Some of the sectors that are performing well overseas are the resource and energy stocks, and since we don't really have any of those we're not participating in the rally to the same degree that Australia and some of those other markets are."

"We're also just below a record high, so there's probably not as much juice in the tank as there is in some of the other markets that are still below where they started the year and where they peaked last year," Lister said.

Dual-listed bank ANZ led the index, rising 2 percent to $29.20. Westpac Banking Group gained 0.5 percent to $36.90.

Genesis Energy advanced 1.9 percent to $2.11. 

Metro Performance Glass rose 1.9 percent to $1.65 after falling 1.8 percent in yesterday's trading. It's down 5.8 percent so far this year. 

SkyCity Entertainment Group increased 1.7 percent to $4.94. The stock was the best performer on the index yesterday after an article in the Australian Financial Review suggested Star Entertainment Group, which owns Sydney's Star casino, may be looking to make a bid.

Orion Health Group gained 1.6 percent to $3.15.

Steel & Tube Holdings was the worst performer, dropping 3.4 percent to $2.29. The Commerce Commission is investigating the building products company after its chief executive admitted selling "many thousands of sheets" of earthquake reinforcing mesh wrongly certified with an independent laboratory's logo. The company has described the error as an oversight. 

"They're suffering from the news," Lister said. "They've come under some scrutiny for it. They have put out a statement but the market's still taking a reasonably cautious view of that news story at the moment."

New Zealand Refining Company fell 3.3 percent to $3.24. An increased oil price means the company's margins narrow.

Sky Network Television shed 1.6 percent to $4.98. The stock, which closed as low as $4.12 earlier this year, had rallied 11 percent in the first three trading sessions this week, with rumours it could be added to a new global index or exchange traded fund.

"They've obviously had a big rebound of late, so they've just given up some of those gains. There may be a bit of profit taking," Lister said. 

Though the index as a whole didn't fall today, a number of stocks went ex dividend today. 

"There's a lot of stocks that look like they're down, but that's because the rights for those dividends are disappearing," Lister said. "That's not them being down, that's really just a moving of the deck chairs."

Spark New Zealand closed at $3.40 after paying an interim dividend of 11 cents per share, along with a special dividend of 1.5 cents, Heartland Bank was at $1.20 after giving up rights to an interim dividend of 3.5 cents today, while Freightways closed at $6.19 as it prepares to pay an interim dividend of $12.75 cents on April 4.

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