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NZX CLOSE: NZ shares edge up despite fears of weak Xmas retail spending

Wednesday 6th January 2010

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New Zealand shares edged up today despite fears of grimmer consumer spending over the Christmas holiday period.

The NZX 50 Index increased 3.4, or 0.1%, to 3271.56. Within the index, 21 stocks declined, 15 rose, 13 were unchanged and one didn’t trade.

Turnover was $50.9 million as the holidays continue to keep trading volumes thin.  

Kathmandu (NZX: KMD ) declined 4% to $1.94, leading the 50 lower, while kid’s clothing retailer Pumpkin Patch (NZX: PPL )  fell 1.5% to $2.01 and clothing and babyware chain Postie Plus Group (NZX: PPG ) shrank 2.5% to 39 cents, as the outlook for the Christmas holiday shopping period darkens after the Warehouse Group announced flat sales yesterday.  

“Sales are still on and have been for the last several months,” said Alan Moore, who manages $350 million for Milford Asset Management. “What we’re waiting to see is how retailers get back to normalised trading.”  

The Warehouse (NZX: WHM ) clawed back some of its losses from yesterday, rising 0.7% to $4.10. The NZSE Consumer Index dropped 0.1% to 1556.95.  

Rural services company PGG Wrightson Ltd (NZX: PGW ) held on to yesterday’s gains unchanged at 61 cents, though NZ Farming Systems Ltd., of which PGW is a shareholder, fell 2% to 49 cents.  

New Zealand Oil & Gas Ltd (NZX: NZO ) dropped 1.2% to $1.65 and Pan Pacific Petroleum (NZX: PPP ) shed 1.9% to fall to 51 cents. 

Investment company Guinness Peat Group (NZX: GPG ) led the gainers on the top 50 index, climbing 2.3% to 89 cents. Moore said GPG normally trends up at this time of year as investors prepare for its earnings report and it often looks cheap.  

Rubber goods manufacturer Skellerup Holdings (NZX: SKL ) gained 2% to 52 cents while infrastructure investor Infratil Ltd. rose 1.9% to $1.62.  

Sky Network TV Ltd (NZX: SKT ) rose 1.4% to $5.20 after it announced it bought the rights to broadcast this year’s Commonwealth Games from state broadcaster Television New Zealand.  

Carpet maker Cavalier Corp. (NZX: CAV ) made inroads into its decline yesterday, gaining 1.5% to $2.69.  Property investors AMP NZ Office Trust (NZX: APT ) and Goodman Property Trust (NZX: GMT ) rose 1.3% to 78 cents and 0.9% to $1.09 respectively, though ING Property Trust sank 2.5% to 79 cents.

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