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MARKET CLOSE: NZ stocks rise on solid ANZ earnings

Thursday 28th October 2010

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New Zealand stocks rose for the first time in three sessions, lead by ANZ which posted a strong return to profit growth on a day marked by a lack of direction in the market.

The NZX 50 Index rose 9.66 points, or 0.3%, to 3,290. Within the index, 14 stocks rose, 22 fell and 14 were unchanged. Turnover was $95.9 million.

ANZ (NZX: ANZ ) rose 2% to 32.21 after the Melbourne-based lender reported a 53% rise in full-year profit to A$4.5 billion, reflecting reduced charges for problem loans. A cash profit of A$5.1 billion topped analyst estimates.

“If you look at AGM commentary none of it has particularly positive, so other than banks which surprise slightly on the upside, there hasn’t been a real earnings catalyst for movement today with a lack of offshore leads,” said Paul Robertshawe, who helps manage $220 million in equities for Tower Asset Management. 

Pyne Gould Corp (NZX: PGC ) rose 2.4% to 43 cents, pacing gainers on the day.

Fletcher Building (NZX: FBU ) rose 2.2% to $8.20, and Sanford (NZX: SAN ) rose 2.2% to $4.60.

Telecom (NZX: TEL ) rose 1.5% to $2.07 on a day when the Axa group of companies announced it would pare back its shareholding in the company to 7.5% from 8.6%.

Lyttelton Port (NZX: LPC )  was unchanged at $2.30 after it forecast an underlying profit of at least $10 million in 2011 as the port shrugs off the effects of the Canterbury earthquake and starts the financial year strongly.

PGG Wrightson (NZX: PGW ) was unchanged at 55 cents after it said trading performance for the 2011 financial year will be in line with the 2010 financial year though net profit may improve.

Chairman Sir John Anderson said the company was focused on transforming the PGW business to ensure it and its clients were positioned to benefit from improved medium to longer term fundamentals for the primary sector.

APN News & Media (NZX: APN ) fell 3.9% to $2.46, leading decliners on the main board.

Fisher & Paykel Appliances (NZX: FPA ) fell 3.3% to 59 cents, Kathmandu (NZX: KMD ) fell 2.8% to $1.74, and New Zealand Oil & Gas (NZX: NZO ) fell 2.3% to $1.28.

Tower (NZX: TWR ) fell 1.1% to $1.86, after it announced today that it will let its offer for Fidelity Life lapse after the majority of shareholders in the takeover target snubbed the over.

Auckland International Airport (NZX: AIA ) fell 0.5% to $2.10 after the company told shareholders at its annual meeting today that annual profit may rise as much as 12% this year as the recovery in the global economy drives growth in passenger numbers.

Freightways (NZX: FRE ) fell 1% to $3.04 after it posted a 4% decline in first-quarter profit, reflecting higher bank margins, and said the recovery in the domestic economy will continue at a tepid pace.

The operator of courier firms including New Zealand Couriers, Post Haste, SUB60 and Kiwi Express said net income declined to $6.7 million in the three months ended Sept 30 from $7 million a year earlier. Sales climbed 4% to $85.4 million.

AMP (NZX: AMP ) fell 0.4% to $7.10 after it announced a 53% fall in third quarter cash flows, but said assets under management have increased due to improved market conditions.

Abano Healthcare Group (NZX: ABA ) fell 0.2% to $5.24 after it said will return $27.3 million to shareholders by cancelling one in every four shares held.

Shareholders are to get $5.23 for each cancelled share. The capital return requires shareholder approval at the annual meeting on Nov 30.

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