MIDDAY UPDATE: NZ shares gain in NY open on Washington deal

By Paul McBeth

Jan. 3 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand shares gained on the open of the local stock market, following the global euphoria on US policymakers cutting a deal to prevent the US$600 billion fiscal cliff of spending cuts and tax hikes.

The NZX 50 index rose 25.97 points, or 0.6 percent, to 4092.49 at midday in Wellington, following the rally in markets around the world on the news of the US deal. Those gains may be limited as investors go through the detail of the agreed-upon spending cuts and tax increases in the US, which may temper optimism.

Ryman Healthcare led gainers on New Zealand's benchmark index, up 3.3 percent to $4.70, followed by OceanaGold, up 2.9 percent to $3.50 and telecommunications network operator Chorus, which gained 2.3 percent to $3.02.

Phone company Telecom was the biggest decliner in early trading, falling 2.4 percent to $2.22, followed by the country's newest bank, Heartland New Zealand, down 1.5 percent to 68 cents.

Pyne Gould prepares to quit NZ after finding a Perpetual buyer

Pyne Gould Corp will prepare to turn its back on New Zealand after managing director and majority shareholder George Kerr found a willing buyer for the Perpetual wealth management units, in a typically complicated deal.

The Christchurch-based company will transfer its Perpetual assets into Australian fund manager van Eyk Research, of which Pyne Gould owns 38 percent, and it will then sell its stake in van Eyk to interests associated with London-based investment manager Andrew Barnes.

Shares in Pyne Gould last traded at 26 cents, a 30 percent discount to the 37 cents a share price Kerr paid to take control via his Australasian Equity Partners No 1 LP vehicle.

Pyne Gould has previously signalled it plans to quit the local bourse and shift its domicile to either Australia or London once it completed the Perpetual sale.

GPG sells more assets

Guinness Peat Group, the investment firm liquidating its portfolio, has realised some 18.7 million pounds in the latest grab-bag of asset sales.

The firm, founded by Ron Brierley, reaped 8.8 million pounds from the sale of wholly-owned subsidiary Gosford Quarry Holdings and will keep the unit’s Sydney property, which has redevelopment potential, for a later disposal, the company said in a statement.

The firm has also exited stakes in Metals X, GME Resources, Nationwide Accident Repair Services, Sysmedia Group and Touch Holdings for total cash proceeds of 9.9 million pounds. The Touch sale excludes loan repayments and has the potential for earnouts in 2014, GPG said.

GPG has been selling assets in a plan to return capital to shareholders, and ultimately aims to rebrand itself as its biggest asset, UK threadmaker Coats.

The shares were unchanged at 59.5 cents.

Dairy prices rise on GDT auction

The price of dairy products rose 2 percent in the first GlobalDairyTrade auction of 2013, recovering losses through the tail-end of last year.

The average winning trade-weighted price increased to US$3,357 per metric tonne from US$3,311 a tonne at the Dec. 19 sale. The gains were led by a 4.7 percent boost in skim milk prices to US$3,572 per tonne. Prices for whole milk powder, which typically accounts for more than half the product sold, rose 1.6 percent to US$3,199 per tonne.



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