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MARKET CLOSE: Stocks extend gains, led by Sky TV buyout news

Wednesday 16th June 2010

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Shares rose for their sixth straight day pushing the index to its highest level in almost a month, after Sky Network Television rose amid news that Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation was interested in buying its parent company, BSkyB.

The NZX 50 gained 22.67 points, or 0.74%, to 3066.57. Within the index 22 stocks rose, 14 fell and 14 were unchanged. Turnover was $60.4 million, the biggest value in what’s been a lacklustre week.

Sky TV (NZX: SKT ) rose 4.8% to $5.02 after reports that Rupert Murdoch is looking to buy up the rest of the firm’s British parent company.

“Sky TV was the standout news on the market today on expectations of News buying BskyB,” said Alan Moore of Milford Asset Investment. “There are clear signs that News Corp is getting better control of its operations and looking to the future and generating better returns from owing the beast.”

Marlborough Lines today announced that it was close to acquiring a 10% stake in Horizon Energy (NZX: HED ), a locally listed energy network operator, having already bought 8.15% at $4.15. The shares were unchanged at $4.15.

Guinness Peat Group, (NZX: GPG ) the investment group chaired by Ron Brierley, closed unchanged at 66 cents after announcing plans to spin off its Australian assets into a separate listed company, and restructure the rest of the business in preparation to float its Coats unit.

“This is the plan, now we’ve just got to await the execution. We haven’t seen a strong response from the market as things won’t start happening until September. The thing that we’re all waiting for is more news,” Moore said.

Listed retailers had a mixed day after shrugging off a positive Westpac McDermott Miller survey which showed consumers are more upbeat about their spending decisions. The biggest listed retailer, Warehouse, (NZX: WHS )was unchanged at $3.56, while outdoor clothing retail b(NZX: KMD ) was up 4.7% to $2.00. Clothing chain Hallenstein Glasson (NZX: HLG )  fell 1.11% to $3.55.

“I don’t think numbers made a heck of a lot of difference. It is nice to see that they are part of a series of numbers but retain sector is still very difficult. The tax cuts haven’t arrived yet, and we don’t know if it will have an impact in terms of going to consumer spending or saving,” Moore said.

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