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NZX CLOSE: Shares rise; Pyne Gould leads gains after insurance sale

Wednesday 24th March 2010

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New Zealand shares rose, led by Pyne Gould, after the finance group said its Marac unit sold an insurance business into a joint venture with the Automobile Association. Nuplex Industries rose after announcing it had acquired a food ingredients business.

The NZX 50 Index rose 4.35, or 0.1%, to 3232.72. Within the index, 23 stocks rose, 14 fell and 11 were unchanged. Turnover was $71 million.

Pyne Gould (NZX: PGC ) rose 4.3% to 49 cents. Its Marac unit agreed to sell half of its insurance business into an AA joint venture for $2.2 million.

Nuplex (NZX: NPX ) rose 3.9% to $3.45. The company reiterated its forecast for full-year EBITDA of $125 million to $135 million in its interim report and chairman Rob Aitken said the company “is in a strong position” with “a sound balance sheet and a good cash flow.”

The company today announced the purchase of the ingredients business of Med-Chem group, a closely held, Auckland-based group that also which distributes medical and surgical equipment.

PGG Wrightson (NZX: PGW ), the nation’s biggest rural services company, rose 1.7% to 59 cents after Fonterra Cooperative Group confirmed its forecast milk price of $5.70 a kilogram of milk solids for the 2010 season.

“Although there is an element of uncertainty as to how supply and demand factors will influence prices, the recent stability means the outlook is positive for the balance of this year and into 2010/11,” Fonterra chief executive Andrew Ferrier said today.

Telecom (NZX: TEL ) slipped 0.5% to $2.13. The biggest phone company in New Zealand had further outages on its XT network yesterday.

Port of Tauranga (NZX: POT ), the nation’s biggest export port, edged up 0.4% to $7. The port’s $15 million acquisition of Auckland-based Tapper Transport will improve its supply chain links and its ability to grow container movements at Ports of Auckland's expense, said Craigs Investment Partners analyst Geoff Zame, according to the ShareChat website.

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