MARKET CLOSE NZ shares gain; SkyCity up as convention deal confirmed, MRP falls

May 13 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand shares rose, extending the NZX 50 Index's advance this year to more than 14 percent, as investors welcomed confirmation of SkyCity Entertainment Group's convention centre deal and Chorus posted growth in broadband connections.

The NZX 50 rose 18.86 points, or 0.4 percent, to a record close of 4671.63. Within the index, 27 stocks rose, 13 fell and 10 were unchanged. Turnover was $124 million.

SkyCity rose 2.3 percent to $4.50 after the casino and hotel company agreed to develop a $402 million convention centre in Auckland in exchange for being granted increased gambling concessions and a 27-year extension of its Auckland casino licence. The deal concludes some four years of talks between the government and SkyCity.

Today's announcement "has removed the uncertainty of the whole thing," said Grant Williamson, a director at Hamilton Hindin Greene. "There's been a bit of buying on the announcement but investors aren't getting too carried away."

Chorus, the network company spin off from Telecom in 2011, rose 1.1 percent to $2.72, having declined 9 percent this year. The Wellington-based company said it had increased its total broadband connections to 1.09 million in the three months ended March 31 from 1.08 million at the start of the quarter, with its biggest gains in enhanced unbundled bitstream access and naked enhanced UBA.

Today's news was "slightly positive," Williamson said. "The market still hasn't got complete confidence in Chorus and the broadband rollout."

Telecom rose 0.7 percent to $2.705.

Skellerup Holdings, the manufacturer of rubber goods and milking equipment, gained 2.9 percent to $1.42, leading the index higher. At today's price, the stock has a dividend yield of 8.65 percent.

Sky Network Television, the nation's pay-TV company, rose 2.4 percent to $5.59.

Metlifecare, the retirement village operator, rose 2 percent to $3.58, bringing its gain in the past 12 months to 73 percent. Larger rival Ryman Healthcare, which posts its full-year earnings this week, edged up about 1 percent to $6.24. Summerset Group fell 1.6 percent to $3.

MightyRiverPower, which debuted last Friday, fell 0.4 percent to $2.61, having gained 4.8 percent on Friday from its initial public offering price of $2.50. About 25 million shares changes hands, more volume than any stock in the NZX 50.

"A number of institutions are taking some quick profit," Williamson said. "It's early days but it has found a level in the $2.60 to $2.70 area. From now on it comes down to the financial performance."

Fletcher Building, the biggest company on the index, fell 1.3 percent to $8.55. The government says it will investigate why building costs in New Zealand are higher than in neighbouring Australia.

Kiwi Income Property Trust, the owner of Auckland's Sylvia Park Shopping Centre, was unchanged at $1.22 after reporting a 15 percent fall in annual earnings due to a drop in rental income and saying it expects to pay a smaller return to investors in 2014.

Infratil fell 2 percent to $2.43, leading declines in utility-related companies ahead of its earnings this week. TrustPower, which is controlled by Infratil, fell 0.7 percent to $7.50 and Contact Energy declined 0.9 percent to $5.55. Vector dropped 0.7 percent to $2.88.

The Tiwai Point aluminium smelter, which has threatened to shutter its plant and leave the nation with a surplus of power if it can't get cheaper electricity, was reported by BusinessDesk as "losing millions of dollars every month."



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