NZ shares rise led by Hallenstein, Fletcher; Chorus slides after downgrade

File photo / Getty Images
File photo / Getty Images

New Zealand shares rose to a two-month high, led by retailer Hallenstein Glasson, extending its rally from a four-year low as investors went bargain hunting.

The NZX 50 Index advanced 31.175 points, or about 0.6 percent, to 4921.671, the highest close since Nov. 14. Within the index, 31 stocks rose, 12 fell and seven were unchanged. Turnover was $75 million.

Hallenstein, whose shares tumbled more than a quarter last week after it issued a profit warning, led gainers on the NZX 50 rising 7.1 percent to $3.48 as investors were attracted by its relative cheapness.

"Its bottom fishing, you always get a lot of volatility after a profit warning," said James Lee, head of institutional equities at First NZ Capital.

New Zealand's biggest listed company Fletcher Building helped pace gains, rising 1.5 percent to $9.06, after it announced former Commonwealth Bank of Australia Ralph Norris will join its board in April.

First NZ's Lee said the company's strong interests across the Tasman and a rising kiwi against the Australian dollar meant Fletcher was now more an Australian story than a New Zealand one.

Air New Zealand, the national carrier, increased 0.9 percent to $1.70, buoyed by the recent announcement of a potential code-sharing alliance with Singapore Airlines. Government data today showed a surprise lift in the consumers price index, driven by rising prices for international and domestic flights.

"Air New Zealand continues its upward trend on that Singapore alliance announcement, should it come through the regulators," Lee said.

Chorus, whose share price halved last year, dropped 4.9 percent to $1.465 after Moody's Investors Service downgraded its credit rating due to the on-going regulatory uncertainty surrounding the pricing of its copper line service.

Fisher and Paykel Healthcare, who makes breathing masks and respirators, continued an upward trend, hitting a near seven-year intraday high of $4. It rose 1.3 percent to close at $3.97. Wellington-based cloud accounting software maker Xero also rose to another record close, gaining 1.1 percent to $42.38.

Auckland International Airport gained 2.5 percent to $3.67. Online auction site Trade Me was up 2.2 percent to $4.20, as was New Zealand's biggest listed retailer the Warehouse, rising 0.3 percent to $3.76. Telecom was unchanged at $2.385.

- BusinessDesk

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