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Current as of 27/09/16 01:19PM NZST

Market Close: NZ shares gain; Metlifecare rises

The S&P/NZX 50 Index gained 52 points, or 0.8 percent, to 6,876.49.
The S&P/NZX 50 Index gained 52 points, or 0.8 percent, to 6,876.49.

New Zealand shares rose, outperforming equity markets across Asia, as a brokerage gave an upbeat assessment of retirement village operator Metlifecare. Auckland International Airport and Z Energy gained while Kathmandu Holdings fell.

The S&P/NZX 50 Index gained 52 points, or 0.8 percent, to 6,876.49. Within the index, 31 stocks rose, ten fell and eight were unchanged. Turnover was $137.4 million.

Asian markets have fallen for seven consecutive sessions with mixed economic data across the region keeping investors concerned about growth. At 5:10pm local time, China's SSEC was 0.3 percent lower and Hong Kong's Hang Seng had dropped 0.4 percent.

Metlifecare rose 3.4 percent to $5.50, a price not seen since January 2008 after First NZ Capital analysts said in a report that the retirement village operator will benefit in coming months from a ramp-up in development, change in leadership, and supportive business conditions.

"We see MET's pipeline of build as more attractive than it has been for many years and we expect new management over time to accelerate both the build programme and also site purchases," the analysts said.

Rival Ryman Healthcare rose 1.8 percent to $8.99 and Summerset Group Holdings gained 0.5 percent to $4.36.

An investment conference hosted by Macquarie Group in Sydney has drawn a large number of institutional investors this week, said Anthony Halls, portfolio manager at Mint Asset Management.

"The New Zealand market is doing pretty well, there's been weakness from offshore but the market hasn't been overly worried - it's still a good place for investors," Hall said.

The local market is up 7.9 percent for the year, while Australia's ASX 200 is down 0.5 percent and the Hang Seng has fallen 6.6 percent. It reached a record 6,906.1 last month before falling back, though is nearing that high again.

Auckland International Airport led the index, up 4 percent to $6.445. It dipped two weeks ago, which some analysts ascribed to profit taking after the stock reached an all-time high of $6.895 at the beginning of May, but has recovered since. It's up 7.7 percent this year.

"It's literally just bouncing back from a bit of weakness, it's doing well in an illiquid market," Hall said.

Vital Healthcare Property Trust gained 3.4 percent to $2.15, and Meridian Energy advanced 2.9 percent to $2.63.

Z Energy rose 1.1 percent to $7.97, a record. The New Zealand Superannuation Fund said it is happy to remain a holder of shares in Z Energy after Australian media reports suggested it planned to sell its 10 percent stake in the fuel retailer.

The shares spiked after the Commerce Commission approved Z's bid to buy the rival Caltex and Challenge! petrol station chains last week.

Units in Fonterra Shareholders' Fund, which give holders access to the coop's dividend stream, gained 0.3 percent to $5.82. Fonterra Cooperative Group cut its forecast farmgate milk price to its Australian dairy farmers for the current season, saying it better reflects the oversupply of milk which is weighing on global dairy commodity prices.

The company said its revised Australian milk price would reduce the cost of goods sold for Fonterra Australia by about A$48 million although the amount is subject to factors such as final milk volumes for the year.

Kathmandu Holdings fell furthest, down 2.6 percent to $1.52, a two-month low.
Xero dropped 1.6 percent to $15.24 and Chorus declined 1.2 percent to $4.01.
Outside the main index, Tourism Holdings gained 1.9 percent to $2.72. One of the long-time private holders sold their stake today, Halls said.

GeoOp, which last traded yesterday at 28 cents, has overwhelmingly approved a merger with Australian mobile sales app developer InterfaceIT and welcomed Roger Sharp to the board, where he is to replace Mark Weldon as chairman. Reporters were barred without explanation from the special meeting in Auckland which came a day after Weldon's resignation as chief executive of MediaWorks.


(BusinessDesk)

- BusinessDesk

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