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NZX CLOSE: NZ shares rise for 2nd day, led by banks

Wednesday 17th February 2010

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New Zealand shares rose, led by Australia & New Zealand Banking Group, after the UK’s Barclays Plc posted earnings that beat estimates, and US manufacturing strengthened, helping spur a global rally.

The NZX 50 Index rose 23.45, or 0.8%, to 3111.06, rounding out one of its few back-to-back advancing sessions this year. Within the index, 26 stock rose, 14 fell and 10 were unchanged. Turnover was $173 million, the biggest-value trading day this year.

ANZ Bank (NZX: ANZ ) climbed 4.5% to $28.20 on the NZX, mirroring gains in shares of lenders on the ASX. Barclays rallied in the UK after that nation’s No. 2 bank reported a doubling of 2009 profit on investment banking band the sale of its funds management arm.

Westpac (NZX: WBC ) gained 3.3% to $32.50 and AMP (NZX: AMP ) rose 1% to $7.95.

Shares advanced across Asia, with Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index up 2.6% in early afternoon trading and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index climbing 2.2%.

“The outlook for banks is generally quite positive,” said Alan Moore, who helps manage $300 million at Milford Asset Management at Wellington. The outlook for bad debt is “starting to look better.”

Moore said there’s still a big question mark over the extent of regulation that will be imposed on banks though that may be more of a concern in the U.S. than in the ANZ region.

Fletcher Building (NZX: FBU ) gained 4.2% to $7.96 after New Zealand’s biggest construction company posted a smaller-than-expected 10.5% decline in first-half earnings and lifted its outlook for the full year. “The group is in a very strong financial position and well placed for the future,” chief executive Jonathan Ling said.

Steel & Tube Holdings (NZX: STU ) rose 1.6% to $2.59 after Fletcher’s results lifted sentiment for the sector.

PGG Wrightson (NZX: PGW ) rose 1.7% to 59 cents. Standard & Poor’s assigned a BB credit rating to its PGG Wrightson Finance unit and said the parent’s recent “recapitalisation and refocused strategy should enhance its capability to support” the finance unit if required.

ING Medical Properties Trust (NZX: ING ), the country’s only listed commercial landlord specialising in healthcare properties, rose 0.9% to $1.17 after announcing that operating profit rose to $6.76 million in the six months ended Dec. 31, from $5.87 million a year earlier. Net income was $6.49 million, from a year-earlier loss of $7.04 million.

Rakon (NZX: RAK ), which manufactures crystal oscillators used in navigation systems and mobile phones, dropped 5.2% to 91 cents, the biggest decline on the NZX 50 today.

AMP NZ Office Trust (NZX: APT ) fell 2.7% to 72 cents and NZ Farming Systems Uruguay (NZX: NZS ) dropped 2.5% to 39 cents.

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