Great year for local stocks

LAURA WALTERS
Last updated 05:00 01/01/2014

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It has been a record year for the New Zealand stockmarket, with more listings, low interest rates and a strong local economy.

The NZX50 hit an all-time high of 4983.6 points in November, from 4066.5 at the start of 2013.

The benchmark index closed the year at 4737.01 points, more than 16 per cent higher than its 2013 start.

It has also been a record trading year.

The total number of trades increased by 31.6 per cent in 2013 compared with 2012, and the total value traded was up 47.9 per cent compared with the previous year to $39.5 billion.

Another 115,149 common shareholder numbers (CSNs) were created for new investors in 2013, taking the total number of active accounts to 585,808.

The number of new CSNs created in 2013 was about five times the number created in 2012.

A spate of listings helped ramp up trading activity on the local bourse, including the large and highly publicised Government partial selldowns of Mighty River Power, Meridian Energy and Air New Zealand.

Initial public offering activity resulted in $7.3b in new capital listed on the NZX in 2013.

Listings in 2013 were Airwork Group, Meridian Energy, Mighty River Power, SLI Systems, Synlait Milk, Wynyard Group, Z Energy and the reverse listing of the Mad Butcher via Veritas.

Tech companies GeoOp and Snakk Media listed on the smaller NZAX.

Cloud accounting firm Xero has blown the market away with its unexpected gains. Xero's shares have gained more than 330 per cent since the start of 2013, reaching a high of $41.50 in November from a starting price of $7.55.

At the other end of the spectrum, uncertainty in the regulatory environment has led to Chorus having a share price decline of more than 50 per cent compared with a year ago.

Diligent Board Member Services had a share price decline of more than 30 per cent during the past year, and the share price of crystal technology manufacturer Rakon dropped about 47 per cent in 2013.

The New Zealand exchange was not the only bourse that had a good year. With two trading days left, 2013 was looking to be a memorable year for Wall Street investors.

As the year came to an end, the S&P 500 was up 29 per cent, on track for its best year since 1997.

The Dow was up 26 per cent, its best year since 1996.

The Japanese stockmarket closed out a historic year.

Japan's Nikkei stock index closed higher for a ninth straight day on Monday.

The index ended 2013 up 57 per cent, its best year in decades.

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- BusinessDay.co.nz

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