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NZX CLOSE: Shares rise amid global optimism; PPP, OGC gain

Monday 12th April 2010

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New Zealand shares rose for the sixth day in seven after stronger-than-expected US data and more certainty of a rescue for Greece lifted investors’ appetite for equities. Pan Pacific Petroleum led gainers as the price of crude oil paced rising commodities.

The NZX 50 Index gained 3.89, or 0.1%, to 3314.14. Within the index, 24 stocks rose, 11 fell and 14 were unchanged. Turnover was $52.2 million.

Pan Pacific Petroleum, which typically records big daily swings in price, jumped 12% to 38 cents as the price of crude oil rose for the first time in four days. New York crude rose to as much as US$85.71 a barrel in Asia. New Zealand Oil & Gas rose 0.6% to $1.63.

Shares advanced across much of Asia today, with Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index climbing 0.7% and Japan’s Nikkei 225 rising 0.6%.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average briefly pushed above 11,000 on Friday in New York after Chevron gave an upbeat assessment of the outlook and data showed U.S. wholesale inventories were stronger than expected. Meantime, Germany has signaled that it will stop opposing a European proposal to provide Greece with loans at below market interest rates.

“There’s been some good data out of major global economies,” said Keith Poore, head of investment strategy at AXA Global Investors in Wellington, which manages $4 billion.”There’s value in the local market” though AXA is still overweight emerging markets and is more attracted to the growth story in Australia, he said.

Speculation that China may allow a major revaluation of the yuan, averting the potential for an escalating trade dispute with the U.S., is also buoying sentiment, Poore said.

OceanaGold Corp. rose 2.7% to $3.49 after the gold miner announced plans to expand its Reefton operations after identifying six highly prospective near mine targets.

AMP NZ Office Trust rose 1.4%b to 75 cents after the property investor announced the signing of a tenancy agreement with the Department of Corrections for the majority of space in its Mayfair House building in Wellington. The agreement is the second-largest lease transaction in the trust’s 12-year history, chief executive Robert Lang said in a statement.

A2 Corp., which licenses techniques to identify milk with a protein variant claimed to have health benefits, rose 1.3% to 8 cents after announcing it is in talks for a “merger of equals” with ASX-listed Freedom Nutritional Products that would create a $62 million company.

Warehouse Group Ltd., the biggest retailer on the NZX 50, rose 0.3% to $3.80 and children’s clothing chain Pumpkin Patch rose 1.4% to $2.20 after figures from Eftpos transaction company Paymark showed a 4.8% gain in the value of electronic card transactions last month. The government releases retail trade data for February on Wednesday.

Fast-food chain Restaurant Brands rose 1.4% to $2.18.

Telecom, the nation’s biggest phone company, fell 0.5% to $2.20 after announcing that wholesale business chief Matt Crockett will leave at the end of June after four years in the job. That marks the third senior executive to depart this year.

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