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Market close: Shares gain as Fletcher rerated, Diligent at record, FPH rises

New Zealand stocks rose as investors cheered Fletcher Building's forecast for higher annual profits, Diligent Board Member Services climbed to a new record and Fisher & Paykel Healthcare lifted earnings.

The NZX 50 Index rose 25.98 points, or 0.7%, to 3997.21, having briefly risen above 4000 for only the second time since January 2008. Within the index, 31 stocks rose, eight fell and 11 were unchanged. Turnover was $122 million.

Fletcher Building, the biggest company on the exchange by market value, rose 1.4% to $7.84, the highest close in 13 months.

The company told shareholders at the annual meeting this week that operating earnings will grow by as much as 22% in 2013 financial year as new home construction accelerates.

"We've really seen the stock being rerated," says Mark Warminger, portfolio manager at Milford Asset Management. "Going into the AGM the market was expecting a downgrade to guidance."

Diligent rose 3%  to $4.74, a record close. Last week it said revenue soared 145% in the three months to September 30 and margins widened as the company's corporate governance product begins to gain scale in key markets.

F&P Healthcare, which makes breathing masks and respirators and gets 51% of sales in US dollars, rose 2.1% to $2.49. The Auckland-based manufacturer beat its guidance with an 18% gain in first-half profit, making record sales while keeping a rein on costs and widening its margins.

Profit in the full-year would also beat its estimate, helped by the rollout of new products, it said.

Dorchester Pacific, the finance and insurance company, rose 4% to 26 cents after narrowing its first-half loss and reiterating its target for a full-year profit, helped by earnings from recently acquired debt collector EC Credit Control.

Pumpkin Patch, the children's clothing chain, fell 2.4% to $1.21 and was the biggest decliner on the index. Sky City Entertainment, the hotel and casino operator, fell 0.8% to $3.77.

Telecom, the biggest phone company on the exchange, rose 0.6% to $2.35. Tower, the insurer that agreed to sell its medical insurance unit, gained 1.1% to $1.90.

Port of Tauranga fell 1.1% to $13.15, bringing its gain this year to 32%. Goodman Fielder, the Australasian food manufacturer, climbed 6.6% to 81 cents.

(BusinessDesk)