The volume of trading in shares on the NZX climbed almost 42 per cent last year as investors renewed their interest in equities at the expense of listed debt securities.

The stock exchange reported 701,187 equity transactions in 2011 for a value of $27.4 billion, which was an improvement of 27 per cent in 2010 in dollar terms. That came at the expense of debt trading, which fell 14 per cent to 39,414, with an 11 per cent decline in value traded at $1.2 billion.

A flurry of new listings late in the year, including the partial float of online auction site Trade Me and the carve-out of Telecom's Chorus unit into a standalone listed company supported share trading, which surged 48 per cent in the month of December. The number of equity securities was flat at 171, though listed debt securities fell 7.8 per cent to 107 over the year.

Some $11.87 billion of new capital was raised on the stock exchange last year from 306 events, more than three times the $3.2 billion raised in 2010, with $10.83 billion raised in new equity. Issuers raised some $1.04 billion in new debt in 2011.

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NZX equity market capitalisation slipped 0.3 per cent to $55.9 billion, or 27.4 per cent of gross domestic product, in the year, while debt market capitalisation edged down 0.1 per cent to $16 billion, or 7.8 per cent of GDP.

Trading on the stock exchange's controversial grain exchange climbed almost 64 per cent to 496,296 tonnes traded in the year, while derivatives trading surged 5200 per cent to 11,129 lots traded.

The stock exchange operator also derives revenue by selling data, and it reported a 19 per cent increase in primary data distributors, though real time data terminals slipped 3.4 per cent to 7,279 in the year. Other data distributors climbed 39 per cent to 57.

Total subscriptions to its dairy and grain information and agriculture publications climbed 36 per cent to 21,567, and total paid advertising page equivalents were up 30 per cent to 160.

Stock exchange operator NZX was one of the best-performing stocks in 2011, surging an annual 48 per cent. The shares gained 0.8 per cent to $2.40 in trading yesterday.