Telecom leads shares to late surge

05:48, Jul 31 2012

The New Zealand sharemarket posted its fourth positive close in a row, with high levels of demand for Telecom helping to push the exchange towards a late surge after a lacklustre start to the day.

Kathmandu was a standout on the market, with bargain hunting driving demand for the outdoor retailer, while PGG Wrightson fell.

The NZX 50 Index rose 26.12 points, or 0.72 per cent, to 3545.01. Within the index, 27 stocks rose, 11 fell, and 12 were unchanged. Turnover was $115 million, with 36.4 million shares traded. The 90-day bill rate last traded at 2.7 per cent.

Telecom, the country's biggest phone company and most traded stock, rose 1.9 per cent to $2.66, it highest level since May.

Bryon Burke, head dealer at Craigs Investment Partners, said the surge appeared to be driven by bets that customer numbers on its higher yielding XT network are set to rise as it shuts down its now defunct CDMA network.

Kathmandu surged 5.3 per cent to $1.59. About 220,000 of the company's shares changed hands today, worth about $330,000.


Infratil, the infrastructure investment firm, rose 1.7 per cent to $2.09. The stock, which is widely seen as more defensive in nature, has attracted increased attention on fears of a deteriorating macroeconomic outlook.

Fletcher Building, the country's biggest construction firm, rose 1.5 per cent to $6.11 after Australian data showed building consents rose over 8 per cent in the second quarter versus the first three months of the year.

Some investors had been shorting the stock recently on fears the softer Australian economy would offset the positive impact of the Christchurch rebuild, but the latest numbers appear to put that to rest.

Trade Me, the online marketplace platform provider, rose 1.4 per cent to $3.71.

Kiwi Income Property, the country's biggest listed mall owner, rose 0.5 per cent to $1.08, with 2.3 million shares of the firm's shares passing through the market on the day.

PGG Wrightson, the rural services provider, fell 3.1 per cent to 31c, leading decliners at the close although the stock closed well within its recent trading band.

Vital Healthcare, the specialist investor in medical clinic real estate, fell 1.6 per cent to $1.23.

Fisher & Paykel Healthcare, the maker of breathing masks and respirators, fell 1 per cent to $1.91.

The firm generates over half of its revenue in US dollar terms, and the recent surge in the kiwi to multi-month highs has dented demand for the manufacturer.