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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares rise, THL, Meridian gain, Kathmandu falls

Monday 9th January 2017

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New Zealand shares rose, led by Tourism Holdings and Meridian Energy, while Kathmandu Holdings dropped.

The S&P/NZX 50 Index gained 42.07 points, or 0.6 percent, to 7,012.73, the first time it's closed above 7,000 since Nov 17 2016. Within the index, 37 stocks rose, nine fell and four were unchanged. Turnover was $89.3 million.

"The market's clearly a bit better but there's not a lot going on - there's a bit more volume today, which is a sign that people are beginning to make their way back into the industry," said Rickey Ward, NZ equity manager at JBWere. "In many respects, a number of the names brokers have talked about this year have been ones to watch - Healthcare, Mainfreight, CBL, all pretty good demand. It's almost like people have come back today and looked at what brokers are saying and started to deal with it."

Fisher & Paykel Healthcare rose 1.2 percent to $8.80, Mainfreight gained 1 percent to $20.90, and CBL Corp, which is not in the benchmark index, advanced 2.7 percent to $3.80.

Tourism Holdings was the best performer on the index, up 3.5 percent to $3.88. Meridian Energy gained 2.7 percent to $2.65 and Scales Corp rose 2.4 percent to $3.48. 

"It's a bit of a sleepy period heading into the Trump inauguration and reporting season, it's pretty hard to get clarity in a market where no-one's around."

NZX rose 1 percent to $1.04. Cash trading on the NZX dropped in December, halting a four-month streak of gains, with both the value and volume of trades declining, the stockmarket operator said today.

Summerset Group rose 0.4 percent to $4.67. The retirement village operator lifted fourth-quarter sales 6.8 percent in the final quarter of 2016, led by sales of new retirement village units in a period that included the opening of a new site in Auckland's suburb of Ellerslie.

Kathmandu Holdings was the worst performer, down 3.2 percent to $1.84. It's fallen 5.6 percent since Jan 4 when it closed at $1.95. Fletcher Building fell 1.9 percent to $10.38 and Vista Group International dropped 1.3 percent to $5.48.

Outside the benchmark index, Pushpay Holdings rose 3.4 percent to $1.85. The shares gained as much as 9 percent in intraday trading after the mobile payments app developer said annualised committed monthly revenue (ACMR) grew US$7.3 million in the December quarter, exceeding its performance in the prior period. The shares gained 36 percent from $1.31 to $1.79 between Dec. 28 and Jan. 6, prior to the announcement.

"There's nothing to say that the company has done anything wrong, but I find it very difficult, sitting here as an independent observer, to say that other people didn't get inside information," Ward said. "The share price rallied very strongly, you heard a lot of commentary last year about manipulating share prices and this one could well be insider trading. You've had Plexure and Pushpay rallying very hard ahead of very important news. It's a good positive announcement to justify that share price movement, it's a microcap stock in many respects but certainly getting larger."

NZX is currently assessing Plexure's recent trading after the stock soared 26 percent a day before it announced an agreement with the biggest McDonald's franchisee in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Michael Hill International rose 1.5 percent to $1.33. The jewellery chain said preliminary results show total stores sales growth of 5.7 percent in the six months to December, bolstered by trading in the Christmas period.

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