Stocks debut year with solid gains

Shares that featured on brokers' picks for 2013 such as Ryman Healthcare and Skellerup driven higher.

New Zealand shares rose on the first trading day of 2013, following gains on Wall Street, as investors drove up companies that have featured on broker lists for 2013, such as PGG Wrightson and Ryman Healthcare.

The NZX 50 Index rose 15.86 points, or 0.4 per cent, to 4082.37. Within the index, 33 stocks rose, eight fell and nine were unchanged. Turnover was a lower-than-average $49.6 million.

Wrightson, the nation's biggest rural services company, rose 4.6 per cent to 46c, the highest since August 30 last year. The company was one of three along with Ryman and Diligent Board Member Services to be picked by three brokerages in a Herald survey.

Ryman rose 2.9 per cent to $4.68 and Diligent advanced 0.6 per cent to $5.50.

"There's money chasing these broker picks in a very illiquid market," said Matthew Goodson, portfolio manager at BT Funds Management. Helping sentiment, "there appears to be a very nice recovery occurring in the US.

"Housing has well and truly bottomed and we had a reasonable ISM [Institute for Supply Management]."

Markit's US Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index rose to 54, higher than expected, and taken with the agreement in Washington on the fiscal cliff, helped the Dow Jones Industrial Average to climb 2.4 per cent yesterday.

Fletcher Building, the biggest company on the NZX 50, rose 0.8 per cent to $8.46 while Telecom fell 2.9 per cent to $2.21.

Guinness Peat Group was unchanged at 59.5c after the investment firm said it had realised another £18.7 million ($36.4 million) selling assets including wholly-owned subsidiary Gosford Quarry Holdings and stakes in Metals X, GME Resources, Nationwide Accident Repair Services, Sysmedia Group and Touch Holdings.

Xero, the cloud-based accounting service that soared in 2012, fell 1.6 per cent to $7.48.

Skellerup Holdings, also featured among broker picks for 2013, rose 1.9 per cent to $1.62. Contact Energy, the biggest power company on the benchmark index, rose 1.5 per cent to $5.28.

Auckland International Airport rose 1.5 per cent to $2.71 and Infratil, a diversified investment company, gained 1.3 per cent to $2.30.

Among small cap stocks, Pacific Edge, which is selling a test for bladder cancer, rose 5.6 per cent to 57c.

Dorchester Pacific rose 3 per cent to 34c.

- BusinessDesk

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