MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares rise in short session; retailers up

Dec. 24 (BusinessDesk) – New Zealand shares rose in a shortened pre-Christmas session, with Hallenstein Glasson Holdings leading some retailers higher after figures showed seasonal sales are tracking ahead of last year. Metlifecare fell after joining the benchmark index.

The NZX 50 Index rose 3.08 points, or 0.1 percent, to 4057.82. Within the index, 25 stocks rose, 16 fell and nine were unchanged. Turnover was just $33.4 million.

Hallenstein, the clothing chain, rose 3 percent to $5.50 in modest trading. Jeweller Michael Hill International rose 1.6 percent to $1.24, outdoor equipment chain Kathmandu rose 1 percent to $1.99 and Warehouse Group, the biggest retailer on the NZX 50, gained 1 percent to $3.

Figures from Paymark, which processes about 75 percent of the nation’s electronic retail transactions, show sales last week were up 2.6 percent on the same week of 2011. Local stocks gained even after key benchmarks on Wall Street were down 0.9 percent.

“It’s very quiet Christmas trading – and not a bad performance considering what happened offshore,” said David Price, a broker at Forsyth Barr. “There’s no corporate news and unlikely to be for the next couple of weeks.”

The kiwi dollar has fallen to a three-week low, and that’s helped underpin the local stock market, he said.

PGG Wrightson, the nation’s largest rural services company, rose 5 percent to 42 cents and was the biggest gainer on the benchmark index.

Metlifecare, the retirement village operator, fell 1.9 percent to $3.07 in its first day trading in the NZX 50. Summerset Group, the other retirement village added to the index today, rose 0.5 percent to $2.23.

They replaced NZ Refining, up 2.9 percent to $2.50 today, and Goodman Fielder, unchanged at 76 cents.

Fletcher Building, the biggest company on the NZX 50, rose 0.6 percent to $8.30. Telecom rose 0.9 percent to $2.28 and Contact Energy fell 1.7 percent to $5.30.

NZX, the stock market operator, rose 2.5 percent to $1.22. Port of Tauranga fell 1.3 percent to $13.08 and fishing company Sanford fell 1.6 percent to $4.25.

(BusinessDesk)

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