NZX 50 rises to highest since mid-March

Reported by AAP
Thursday, April 19, 2012

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New Zealand shares rose, pushing the NZX 50 Index to the highest since mid-March.

The NZX 50 rose 2.432 points, or 0.1 per cent, to 3,525.192. Within the index, 27 stocks rose, 12 fell and 11 were unchanged. Turnover was a below-average $84.5 million.

Among the largest stocks, Contact Energy rose 0.2 per cent to $4.91, Fletcher Building fell 0.2 per cent to $6.28 and Telecom was unchanged at $2.53.

Sky City fell 1.8 per cent to $3.82. The casino and hotel operators is hoping to clinch a deal with the government to build a $350 million convention centre in Auckland in exchange for a law change allowing it to run more slot machines. The Labour opposition has called for the project to be re-tendered.

"I think investors will be hopping it goes through - it's a win-win for the tourism industry and the company," said Grant Williamson, director at brokerage Hamilton, Hindin, Greene.

It was a mixed day for retailers. Children's clothing chain Pumpkin Patch fell 2.8 per cent to $1.05, the biggest percentage decline on the benchmark index. Kathmandu, which sells outdoor and camping equipment, rose 1.8 per cent to $1.68.

Xero, which sells a cloud-based accounting system, rose 1.9 per cent to $3.85, bringing its gains this year to 37 per cent. The stock has climbed from $2.50 a year ago.

Auckland International Airport, the nation's busiest gateway, fell 1.2 per cent to $2.53 and Air New Zealand, the national carrier, gained 1.2 per cent to 88 cents.

Sky TV, the nation's dominant pay-TV company, rose 0.4 per cent to $5.35. It won't have to contribute to an annual government levy to fund non-commercial telecommunications, based on the Commerce Commission's provisional view on which companies will be liable.

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