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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares eke out gains; Trade Me rises

Wednesday 6th July 2016

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New Zealand shares rose near the close of trading, while many markets across Asia weakened, as Trade Me Group benefitted from an upgrade from Deutsche Bank and trans-Tasman firms such as Westpac Banking Corp fell in step with their ASX-listed shares.

The S&P/NZX 50 Index rose 6.24 points, or 0.1 percent, to 6977.23, edging up to a new record close. Within the index and against its minor uplift, 24 stocks fell, 18 rose and eight were unchanged. Turnover was $172 million.

Trade Me, the auction website, rose 1.9 percent to $4.89. Analysts at Deutsche Bank raised the company to 'hold' from 'sell' and lifted their price target to $4.68 from $3.95. Trade Me stock has gained about 45 percent in the past 12 months, outpacing the NZX 50's 21 percent gain.

Spark New Zealand rose 1.7 percent to $3.62 and Contact Energy rose 1.3 percent to $5.31.

The benchmark index spent much of the day lower following declines in equity markets and commodities overnight after the Bank of England said some of the near-term risks of the Brexit had "begun to crystallise", while three UK commercial real estate funds have suspended redemptions, citing turmoil in financial markets. 

Xero, the cloud-based accounting company, was the biggest decliner, falling 2.1 percent to $17.80, while Westpac dropped 2 percent to $29.20 and Australia & New Zealand Banking Group fell 1.6 percent to $23.97. Among other companies doing business in Australia, SkyCity Entertainment Group fell 1.5 percent to $4.63.

"A few of the trans-Tasman stocks are coming under pressure," said James Lindsay, senior portfolio manager at Nikko Asset Management New Zealand. "Markets are a bit jittery at the moment. There's been lots of small things upsetting people, including the UK funds halting redemptions."

Sky Network Television fell 1.3 percent to $4.72 even after shareholders voted today in favour of a proposed merger with Vodafone New Zealand to create a media and telecommunications company with more grunt to foot it in a competitive market.

"Obviously, the shareholders have come to a pretty strong conclusion it (a merger) is a good idea and that's our conclusions as well," Lindsay said. "It will be able to fight a bit harder and be a bit faster" although the combined entity will still be in a challenging market.

NZME, whose application to merge with Fairfax New Zealand is before the Commerce Commission, fell 1.4 percent to 73 cents.

NZX, the market operator, was unchanged at $1 after its shareholder metrics showed the volume of total trades rose 18 percent to 164,908 in June from the same month a year earlier.



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