Market close: Shares gain as kiwi weakens, F&P Healthcare up

New Zealand shares rose, led by Xero and Fisher & Paykel Healthcare, as the kiwi dollar weakened against its Australian counterpart and offshore investors were drawn to an economy that stands out in a weak global environment.

The NZX 50 Index rose 12.15 points, or 0.3%, to 3955.24. Within the index, 18 stocks rose, 19 fell and 13 were unchanged. Turnover was $99.7 million.

The kiwi dropped to 78.45 Australian cents, the lowest since mid-September after figures showed New Zealand's unemployment rate jumped while in Australia added more jobs than expected. Stocks sold off in Europe and the US overnight after the US election outcome and downgrades to European economic growth.

"What we're seeing here is the New Zealand market remains firm in the light of a pretty weak global environment," says James Lee, head of institutional equities at First NZ Capital. The kiwi's advance against the Australian dollar and the greenback is showing up in shares of exporters.

Xero jumped 6.4% to $5.80. The cloud-based accounting services company began trading on the ASX today in a bid to draw more Australian investors.

F&P Healthcare, which makes medical equipment and gets more than 50% of sales in US dollars, rose 0.8% to $2.40.

Among smaller caps, AWF Group, the temporary worker company, rose 2.9% to $2.46.

Kathmandu, the outdoor equipment chain, fell 4.5% to $1.71, leading decliners after shedding its 7 cents a share final dividend.

Fletcher Building, which oversees the rebuild of Christchurch on behalf of the government, rose 1.2% to $7.34 as the weak jobs numbers stoked talk the Reserve Bank may be more willing to cut interest rates to help the economy.

Steel & Tube, which sells steel building products, fell 0.5% to $2.18. The company is to re-enter the NZX 50 with the departure of F&P Appliances, now acquired by China's Haier.

Trade Me, the auction website, and Pumpkin Patch, the children's clothing chain, were among rising consumer stocks. Trade Me gained 1.2% to $4.07 and Pumpkin Patch rose 0.8% to $1.25.

NZX, the stock market operator, was unchanged at $1.25 after naming Mint Asset Management analyst Amelia Wong as head of Cash Markets, effective from December 10.

Contact Energy, the biggest power company on the index, rose 1.5% to $5.36. Telecom was unchanged at $2.38.

(BusinessDesk)

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NZ Market Snapshot

Forex

Sym Price Change
USD 0.7878 -0.0004 -0.05%
AUD 0.9091 0.0005 0.06%
EUR 0.6356 -0.0003 -0.05%
GBP 0.5032 0.0001 0.02%
HKD 6.1123 -0.0013 -0.02%
JPY 92.8410 0.0020 0.00%

Commods

Commodity Price Change Time
Gold Index 1201.1 7.690 2014-11-21T00:
Oil Brent 78.6 -0.120 2014-11-21T00:
Oil Nymex 76.5 0.710 2014-11-21T00:
Silver Index 16.4 0.260 2014-11-21T00:

Indices

Symbol Open High Last %
NZX 50 5526.9 5526.9 5526.9 -0.56%
NASDAQ 4751.0 4751.6 4701.9 0.24%
DAX 9521.2 9736.1 9484.0 2.62%
DJI 17721.0 17894.8 17719.0 0.51%
FTSE 6678.9 6773.1 6678.9 1.08%
HKSE 23353.7 23508.0 23349.6 0.37%
NI225 17285.7 17381.6 17300.9 0.33%