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Market close: Shares mixed - Goodman Fielder, NZ Refining fall on NZX50 exit

New Zealand shares were mixed, with Goodman Fielder and NZ Refining down ahead of their exit from the NZX 50 Index, while Ryman Healthcare, rated "outperform"  in a Reuters poll, led gainers.

The NZX 50 rose 4.44 points, or 0.1 percent, to 3979.17. Within the index, 18 stocks rose, 26 fell and six were unchanged. Turnover was $156 million.

The benchmark index is heading for a 22 percent gain this year, though it has retreated from the five-year high charted at the start of the month, outpacing gains in Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index and America's Standard & Poor's 500 Index.

Goodman Fielder, the Australasian food manufacturer, declined 4.9 percent to 77 cents and NZ Refining, which operates the nation's only oil refinery, fell 4.7 percent to $2.42. The two companies will be replaced in the benchmark index on December 24 by retirement village operators Summerset and Metlifecare.

"There's a little bit of weakness as those changes happen in a quiet market," says James Lee, head of institutional equities at First NZ Capital. He is "expecting liquidity to dry up as we head into Christmas", though the index changes "mean people have to focus a bit longer".

Summerset slipped 0.5 percent to $2.23 with 1.3 million shares changing hands, having climbed 66 percent this year. Metlifecare rose 1.3 percent to $3.10, for a 34 percent gain this year.

Chorus, the network company spun off from Telecom last year, fell 1.5 percent to $2.70, extending its slide following last week's draft determination from the Commerce Commission to cut prices it can charge for access to its lines.

Telecom rose 0.9 percent to $2.17.

Fletcher Building, the biggest company on the benchmark index, fell 0.4 percent to $8.26.

Ryman Healthcare rose 3.5 percent to $4.39 and has jumped 54 percent this year. The company was cited as a 'hot stock' in 2013 by Craigs Investment Partners, according to a National Business Review survey.

Rural services company PGG Wrightson, picked in the same survey by brokerages Hamilton Hindin Greene and Forsyth Barr, rose 2.7 percent to 38 cents.

APN News & Media fell 5.3 percent to 36 cents, echoing declines in its ASX-listed stock after the media company lowered its earnings guidance.

Among smaller stocks, Dorchester Pacific, a financial services company, rose 11 percent to 31 cents. Winemaker Delegat's Group fell 1.6 percent to $3.10.

(BusinessDesk)