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MARKET CLOSE: NZ stocks rise on upbeat offshore markets

Friday 3rd September 2010

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 New Zealand stocks rose for their third consecutive session, as positive economic news from offshore markets continued to boost investor confidence, and helped the bourse move above the 3100 mark for the first time since May 20..

The NZX 50 rose 24.9 points, or 0.8%, to 3107.4. Within the index 32 stocks rose, nine fell and eight were unchanged. Turnover was $87.7 million.

Stocks in Europe and on Wall Street held their ground overnight as an unexpected gain in pending home sales, a decline in jobless benefits claims and better-than-expected retail sales eased concerns about US economic outlook. Investors are now awaiting US non-farm payrolls on Friday, which may show the world’s biggest economy is shedding jobs.

“It has been a reasonably strong day with good data out of US markets helping to underpin the positive tone,” ING senior investment analyst Craig Brown said. “Another factor is that we’re getting to the end of results season, and we’re seeing people going back and digging through the numbers in more detail, making up their mind on the results, and acting on that.”

Pyne Gould (NZX: PGC ) rose 4.9% to 43 cents, leading gains on the NZX 50. The company said yesterday that its Perpetual Group unit is in talks to acquire ASB Bank's Aegis custodian investment platform.

Rural services firm Wrightson (NZX: PGW ) rose 3.6% to 57 cents.

NZX (NZX: NZX ) rose 4.3% to $1.45. Forbes Magazine including the securities market operator in a list of 200 "best under a billion" companies in the Asia-Pacific region.

Separately, the company's clearing and settlement system has passed a crucial regulatory milestone ahead of going live this month, gaining "designated" status by the Reserve Bank and Securities Commission today.

Property stocks rose on the bourse, with the NZSX Property Group Index up 1.2% to 752.6. AMP NZ Office Trust (NZX: APT ) rose 2.7% to 75 cents, ING Property Trust (NZX: ING ) rose 1.4% to 71 cents, and Goodman Property Trust (NZX: GPT )rose 1.1% to 94 cents.

“There is more downside risk to dividends in property stocks right now, but the yields are still acceptable compared to the broader market,” Brown said. “If you are looking for yield they are not a bad place to start.” Property trusts may also be benefiting as investors act ahead of an influx of funds from the South Canterbury Finance settlement, he said.

Fisher & Paykel Healthcare (NZX: FPH ) rose 1.3% to $3.02 after Mondrian Investment Partners, an Anglo-American money manager with US$64 billion under management, disclosed a 5% stake in the company.

Shares in Allied Farmers (NZX: ALF ) the company that took over the Hanover loan book, were unchanged at 2.4 cents, paring an intraday gain after the company’s chief executive Rob Alloway resigned.

His departure follows in the wake of chairman John Loughlin, who threw in the towel after Allied’s finance arm was placed into receivership.

Just Water (NZX: JWI ) were unchanged at 17 cents after the company posted a full-year loss of $19.2 million amid soft earnings as it took its Australian business off the books in preparation to sell it.

APN News and Media (NZX: APN ) fell 1.6% to $2.46, pacing declines on the day.

Abano Healthcare (NZX: ABN ), fell 1.2% to $5.03, Cavalier (NZX: CAV ) fell 1.2% to $2.56. and children’s clothing retailer Pumpkin Patch (NZX: PPL ) fell 1.2% to $1.71.

Sky City (NZX: SKC ) fell 0.7% to 2.93.

House sales in Auckland continued to tick over quietly in August but remain stalled on winter sales levels while prices came under pressure, with the average sales price for the month falling to its lowest level since January.

Property prices in Auckland averaged $510,978 in August, the lowest in six months and down 4% from the same month of 2009, according to Barfoot and Thompson.

The number of properties sold by the real estate firm fell by 7 from July to 637.

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