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MARKET CLOSE NZ shares rally; Metlifecare gains as overhang removed, Ryman at record

Monday 21st October 2013

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New Zealand shares rallied, pushing the NZX 50 Index to a new record, after Metlifecare's biggest shareholder said it would exit its stake, removing an overhang and helping sentiment for the retirement village sector. Ryman Healthcare rose to a record.

The NZX 50 rose 43.966 points, or 0.9 percent, to 4802.557. Within the index, 37 stocks rose, four fell and nine were unchanged. Turnover was $133 million.

Metlifecare jumped 7.8 percent to $3.60 after Australia's Retirement Villages Group, the biggest shareholder, said it has hired Goldman Sachs to sell its 37.7 percent stake.

Goldman has been given the sale mandate ahead of the Nov. 23 expiry of the escrow period for RVG's 79.4 million shares, according to a statement from ASX-listed FKP Property Group, which manages RVG. Ryman gained 3.9 percent to a record close of $7.27 though Summerset Group dropped 1.3 percent to $3.15.

"It has been seen as an overhang in the market," said James Smalley, a director at Hamilton Hindin Greene. "Now that the news is finally out there the market is seeing it as very positive and it improves liquidity." A single buyer for the shares would also trigger a takeover, he said.

Smalley noted that while the NZX 50, a gross index, was at a record level, the capital index was only at its highest in about five years and would need to surge further to reach its highs of 2007.

MightyRiverPower climbed 2.8 percent $2.23 after Meridian Energy closed the retail segment of its share offer, removing the need for those investors to sell existing holdings in the sector to raise funds. Smalley said there is also talk that Meridian stock has been in demand "and that has rubbed off on MRP."

Contact Energy rose 1.9 percent to $5.25 and lines company Vector gained 1.2 percent to $2.61.

Diligent Board Member Services extended its recovery, gaining 6.7 percent to $4.80 while Xero halted its recent surge, falling 1.9 percent to $26.50. It has soared from $17.95 on Oct. 10, the day it was halted for a $180 million placement, giving it ample cash to pursue its growth ambitions.

The drop in Xero "is understandable given the stellar run ever since it did that placement," Smalley said.

Shares in Telecom were unchanged at $2.28 after the Australian Financial Review reported the company was looking to sell its AAPT unit. Telecom sold its consumer division of its under-performing Australian unit in 2010, while retaining wholesale customers for its network infrastructure.

Fletcher Building rose 0.1 percent to $9.51 after government figures showed inbound net migration reached a decade-high in September as more migrants arrived and fewer people left New Zealand for Australia. Growing migration is seen as another factor underpinning the heating residential property in Auckland.

Infratil was unchanged at $2.53 after the infrastructure investor put off plans for a share buyback while it looks at "potential transactions." The buyback was scheduled to kick off tomorrow.

Methven was unchanged at $1.57 after the tapmaker appointed David Banfield to replace departing chief executive Rick Fala. Banfield was previously the UK-based chief operating officer of Canadian ozone cleaning products company Tersano.

Auckland International Airport gained 0.6 percent to $3.32 and national carrier Air New Zealand rose 2 percent to $1.56 after government figures showed the number of short-term visitor arrivals climbed 7 percent in September from a year earlier, and were up 3 percent on an annual basis. Campervan rental operator Tourism Holdings was unchanged at 77 cents.

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