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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares rise, Pushpay and A2 gain while Trustpower, Infratil weaken

Thursday 25th January 2018

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New Zealand shares rose, led higher by Pushpay Holdings and A2 Milk Co, with Trustpower and Infratil weakening.

The S&P/NZX50 Index gained 45.69 points, or 0.5 percent, to 8,369.78. Within the index, 23 stocks rose, 21 fell and six were unchanged. Turnover was $128 million. 

Pushpay led the index higher, up 3 percent to $4.18.

"It's bouncing back - it has been a bit weak post going into the index a month or so ago," said James Lindsay, senior portfolio manager at Nikko Asset Management.

Trustpower was the worst performer, down 3.4 percent to $5.72.  It is looking at a proposal by cornerstone shareholder Tauranga Energy Consumer Trust which would, in effect, move all the trust's assets into a separate charitable trust and wind it up. The trust owns 26 percent of Trustpower and distributes the bulk of its income to the power company's Tauranga and Western Bay of Plenty customers, money which would instead be used to fund community projects. 

"That has obviously upset the price today, on the basis that after people get their big payout in September this year, they may look to switch," Lindsay said.

Infratil, which is Trustpower's controlling shareholder, dropped 1.5 percent to $3.22, making it the second-worst performer on the index. Separately,  Wellington-based Infratil said it has finished its NZ Bus negotiations in Wellington, with contracts to begin in the second half of this year. NZ Bus has secured five long-term contracts in the capital, and the deal is "consistent with Infratil’s market messaging on the expected future scale of the NZ Bus business and earnings guidance."

A2 Milk Co rose 2.4 percent to $9.28, while Vector gained 2.4 percent to $3.41.

Outside the benchmark index, Oceania Healthcare fell 5.6 percent to $1.02. The Auckland-based aged-care operator, which listed on the NZX last May, reported first-half profit nearly doubled as its investment property became more valuable and it sold more retirement village units.

In the six months to Nov. 30, operating revenue rose 2.8 percent to $90.2 million, while total income increased 3.6 percent to $126.3 million including changes to the fair value of its investment property. Net profit rose to $42.5 million from $22 million a year earlier.


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