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Market mid-day: NZX 50 gains, ING Property rises after sales

Thursday 11th December 2008

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New Zealand stocks edged higher in mid-day trading, with ING Property Trust advancing after it reported property sales at close to their March book value to repay debt.

The NZX 50 Index rose 13.063, or 0.5%, to 2724.612 at 12:40 p.m. in Wellington. Within the index 23 stocks rose, 10 fell and 17 were unchanged. ING Property rose 3.1% to 67 cents and is up almost 7% in the past month, while the NZX 50 fell 3%. The trust has sold nine properties this year, for a total of NZ$74.2 million, or 92% of their book values as at March.

NZX, operator of the New Zealand stock exchange, rose 0.6% to NZ$5.50 after the Board of Bond Exchange of South Africa recommended shareholders accept the Johannesburg Stock Exchange offer of 125 rand per share. It rejected an earlier offer of 90 rand. NZX is the biggest shareholder in BESA, having acquired its 22% stake on Oct. 3 for 73.17 rand.

Cavalier Corp. jumped 16% to NZ$2.14, leading the index higher, though the volume was just 2,100, suggesting investors are having to pay up to bridge the spread between buy and sell orders in a thin market. The stock touched a record low NZ$1.80 on Dec. 9.

Nuplex Industries fell 0.7% to NZ$3.08 after a monthly survey showed manufacturing in New Zealand slumped last month. Manufacturing activity sank 7.9 points to a record low 35.4 in November, according to the Bank of New Zealand-Business NZ Performance of Manufacturing Index.

New Zealand Oil & Gas rose 1.6% to NZ$1.26 after crude oil for January delivery rose 2.4% to US$43.09 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, leading a rally in commodities.

Among other stocks, Tourism Holdings climbed 3% to 68 cents, Pumpkin Patch rose 2.9% to NZ$1.05 and Fletcher Building gained 1.8% to NZ$5.75.

By Jonathan Underhill

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