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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares up on Asian rally, Fletcher, Restaurant Brands gain

Tuesday 24th July 2018

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New Zealand shares gained as markets across Asia rallied, with Fletcher Building and Restaurant Brands advancing and Vista Group hitting a record high.

The S&P/NZX50 Index rose 28.76 points, or 0.3 percent, to 8,901.32. Within the index, 21 stocks rose, 21 fell and eight were unchanged. Turnover was $104 million.

"It's pretty buoyant across the board in markets across Asia, and there were some positive leads out of the US market overnight in terms of earnings - Google was the big one. That trend seems to be overwhelming some other concerns like trade risks at the moment" said Mark Lister, head of private wealth research at Craigs Investment Partners.

Still, Lister said that the local market was still unsure what to make of the outlook for some stocks "and there's a bit of a waiting game for earnings season to get some clarity on how things are tracking. A lot of the companies are tight-lipped, they're in the pre-reporting zone where they're not really engaging unless there's an earnings upgrade or downgrade so it is a bit quiet."

Fletcher Building led the index higher, up 2.3 percent to $7.02.

Restaurant Brands gained 2 percent to $7.75, a three-week high.

"It did weaken off through June and the first half of July but it's had quite a strong rebound," Lister said. "It's a good story, and maybe it had been sold off to the point that people were starting to get interested again and it has attracted some bargain hunters that are still quite positive on the stock."

Metlifecare rose 1.7 percent to $6.13, Tourism Holdings gained 1.6 percent to $6.19, and Freightways advanced 1.5 percent to $7.89.

Z rose 1.4 percent to $7.05. Last Wednesday, the country’s biggest fuel retailer cut full-year earnings guidance by $30 million due to an extended shutdown at the Marsden Point oil refinery and high crude prices in the June quarter.

"It's had a bit of a rebound after falling pretty sharply since their profit downgrade," Lister said. "They were one of the weakest stocks last week and had a rough day yesterday, dipping under $7 for the first time in a while, but they've rebounded slightly today."

Pushpay Holdings was the worst performer, down 1.8 percent to $3.88. Sky Network Television fell 1.6 percent to $2.56 and Kathmandu Holdings dropped 1.2 percent to $3.24.

Outside the benchmark index, Vista Group rose 8.3 percent to $4.20, an all-time high. Lister said there had been an analyst report overnight "which was quite bullish" and  "the market seems to be taking note of that and it's attracting some very good buying interest."

(BusinessDesk)

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