March 5 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand shares rose on a day dominated by New Corp's sales of its Sky Network Television stake, with Warehouse Group leading gainers ahead of its earnings on Friday.
The NZX 50 rose 15.55 points, or 0.4 percent, to 4269.16. Within the index, 24 stocks rose, 18 fell and eight were unchanged. Turnover was about $1.03 billion, of which about $905 million was in Sky TV shares.
Sky TV fell 2.9 percent to $5.02 after Rupert Murdoch's News Corp completed the $815.3 million sale of its 44 percent stake in the pay-TV operator Sky Network Television at $4.80 a share in an underwritten placement to institutional investors.
"That's not a bad effort considering the amount of stock going through," said Shane Solly, portfolio manager at Mint Asset Management. "The market has taken the selldown positively. People are confident about management's ability to grow earnings."
Warehouse, the biggest retailer on the NZX 50, rose 2.1 percent to $3.47. The company may lift first-half sales by about 19 percent and reported profit before items by 8.3 percent, according to Forsyth Barr analyst Andy Bowley. Warehouse is spending up to $33 million buying online retailer Torpedo7, just months after buying consumer electronics chain Noel Leeming Group.
"They are certainly looking to change the shape of their business with Torpedo and Noel Leeming," Solly said. "They do have a lot on their plate."
Westpac Banking Corp rose 1.7 percent to $38.40, leading gains in dual-listed stocks after gains in the S&P/ASX 200 Index. Australia & New Zealand Banking Group gained 1.4 percent to $35.70.
Fletcher Building, the biggest company on the benchmark index, rose 1.3 percent to $9.17. Reserve Bank of Australia Governor Glenn Stevens kept the cash rate unchanged at 3 percent while saying there were signs the housing market is slowly improving with higher prices and improved rental yields.
Telecom, the biggest phone company on the NZX 50, fell 1.1 percent to $2.30 and Chorus, the network company spun off from Telecom in 2011, dropped 1.4 percent to $2.82
Allied Farmers fell 21 percent to 1.5 cents after announcing it had sold a series of toxic loans for as much as $600,000, after facing a call on debt that had to be satisfied yesterday.
Trade Me , the auction website, rose 0.2 percent to $4.90 after announcing the sale of its group-buying Treat Me website for an undisclosed sum in a management buyout.
The Wellington-based company expects to complete the sale to a consortium led by Treat Me head James Macavoy in the next month, two years after launching the website, it said in a statement. The terms of the sale are confidential, and the price isn't considered material to Trade Me.
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