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Market Close: NZ stocks snap 4-day rout on global rate cuts

Wednesday 29th October 2008

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New Zealand stocks gained, snapping a four-day slide, as the prospects of interest rate cuts in the US, Europe and Asia helped fuel a rebound in global equity markets.

The NZX 50 Index rose 58.49 points, or 2.2%, to finish at 2745.597 at the close of trading in Wellington. The index reached a four-year low yesterday. Michael Hill International, ANZ Banking Group and Lion Nathan led the advance.

Stocks gained across Asia today, following a rally in the US and Europe. The Nikkei 225 Index rose 3% to 7850.25 in midday trading as the yen tumbled against the US dollar and amid speculation the Bank of Japan may lower its rate to 0.25%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average surged 11% yesterday and the Federal Reserve may reduce its target rate to 1% later today, to try to revive a shrinking US economy.

In Sydney, the S&P/ASX 200 Index gained 1.7% to 3902.7 in late trading. BlueScope Steel rose 11% to A$4.05, Incitec Pivot advanced 9% to A$3.75 and Santos gained 9% to A$12.70.

"Most expectations are for a rapid rebound globally," said Paul Richardson, chief investment officer at BT Funds Management. Still, "investors need to be prepared for substantial losses - you need to be buying for a five-year term."

Michael Hill rose 15% to 69 cents, trimming its decline in the past three months to 25% and leading a rebound in retailers. Warehouse Group gained 4.7% to $3.82 and Hallenstein Glasson Holdings rose 0.9% to $2.35.

New Zealand Oil & Gas rose 3.3% to $1.25 and Pike River Coal gained 6.3% to $1.36 following a jump in crude oil and a broader rally in commodities. Crude oil for December delivery rose 6.3% to US$66.71 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

ProvencoCadmus rose 3.7% to 14 cents after the eftpos systems company said it has received indicative bids for its Vantex unit, a sale it needs to raise capital to expand. Its stock has slumped 75% this year.

Skellerup Holdings fell 1.3% to 79 cents after the company said trading in the first three months of the year met expectations, putting it on track for a full-year profit of $13.5 million.

By Jonathan Underhill



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