MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares gain as US counts vote

Nov. 7 (BusinessDesk) – New Zealand shares rose in light trading as investors await the outcome of the US presidential election. Fletcher Building paced the advance. Steel & Tube Holdings rose on news it will return to the benchmark index.

The NZX 50 Index rose 15.42 points, or 0.4 percent, to 3943.09. Within the index, 23 stocks rose, 12 fell and 15 were unchanged. Turnover was a lower-than-average $44.4 million.

With counting in the US vote underway, President Barack Obama led challenger Mitt Romney by 228 electoral votes to 176 as the New Zealand market closed. A candidate needs 270 electoral votes to win the presidency.

Fletcher, the nation’s biggest construction and building products company, rose 1.7 percent to $7.25.

“The market is in a bit of a holding pattern waiting to see how the US election is going to pan out,” said Michael Milne, an adviser at Craigs Investment Partners. With Fletcher, “people are thinking that the Christchurch rebuild is going to help them.”

Steel & Tube rose 2.8 percent to $2.19. The steel building products supplier will return to the NZX 50 Index after the market close on Nov. 13 as following Haier’s takeover of Fisher and Paykel Appliances.

“The move into the 50 will be positive for them and get the attention of portfolio managers,” Milne said.

OceanaGold, operator of the Macraes gold field, rose 6.2 percent to $4.28, leading gainers on the NZX 50.

Michael Hill International led gains among retailers, rising 3.3 percent to $1.24. Outdoor equipment chain Kathmandu rose 2.3 percent to $1.79 and children’s clothing retailer Pumpkin Patch climbed 1.6 percent to $1.24

Briscoe Group fell about 1 percent to $2.61 after posting quarterly sales of $97.5 million, down from a record $98 million in the same period a year earlier. The retailer was “cautiously optimistic” about the outlook and expects to exceed last year’s full-year profit of $27.53 million, dependent on Christmas trading.

Hallenstein Glasson Holdings fell 0.4 percent to $4.98. Trade Me, the auction site, fell 0.5 percent to $4.02.

Auckland International Airport fell 1.1 percent to $2.66 and NZ Oil & Gas declined 1.1 percent to 88.5 cents.

Telecom rose 0.2 percent to $2.38 and Chorus fell 0.6 percent to $328. Contact Energy declined 0.6 percent to $5.28.



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