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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares rise; Nuplex, Farming Systems gain, banks fall

Friday 23rd April 2010

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New Zealand shares rose for the third day in four. Nuplex Industries led the advance. Telecom rose after mobile phone market data showed rival Vodafone no longer dominates.

The NZX 50 Index rose 14.20, or 0.4%, to 3301.66. Within the index, 25 stocks rose, nine fell and 15 were unchanged. Turnover was $67.2 million.

Nuplex rose 3.1% to $3.36 after the specialty chemicals maker confirmed the appointment of its new chief executive Emery Severin, replacing the long-serving John Hirst.

Telecom edged up 0.5% to $2.19. Mobile connections grew 20% to 4.9 million between 2005/06 and 2008/09, according to the Commerce Commission’s annual telecommunications monitoring report out today. Both Vodafone and Telecom had market share decline as Two Degrees Mobile Ltd. took 3.8% of the market.

Telecom’s mobile offering is probably tracking okay, “as long as the market itself is expanding,” said Stephen Wright, private client adviser at ASB Securities.The stock market is making gains in an economy “on an improving track but it’s pretty slow,” he said. Investors want signs of an uptick in the economy and corporate earnings.

The country’s only listed building society, CBS Canterbury, which is listed on the NZAX, was unchanged at $3.00 after it announced it would seek cover under the government’s extended retail deposit guarantee scheme. Only Marac Finance, Equitable Mortgages and South Canterbury Finance have been accepted, while Fisher & Paykel Finance is still waiting to hear from the Treasury about its application.  

Pyne Gould Corp., which owns Marac, gained 2.1% to 48 cents amid reports the financial services company may be looking at selling its 18% share in rural services company PGG Wrightson Ltd.

Cue Energy, which returned to the NZX last year, was unchanged at 35 cents after it told a media and broker briefing it was close to signing a farm-in agreement with a major oil company to allow drilling on the North-West Shelf on Australia’s coast next year.

Kirkcaldie & Stains, the upscale Wellington department store, boosted its first-half profit 50% to $725,000 as it continued to reduce its inventory last year amid declining sales. The shares were unchanged at $2.85.

Shares in Auckland International Airport, the nation’s major gateway, rose 1% to $2.01 after government data showed emigration to Australia was beginning to reemerge after the global financial crisis sapped travellers’ appetite to go abroad amid rising unemployment.

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