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Market close: NZ shares mixed in holiday trading; Diligent up, Michael Hill down

New Zealand shares were mixed in subdued holiday trading, with Diligent Board Member Services leading gainers and Michael Hill International recording the biggest decline. Traders said the local market may enjoy a third year of gains in 2014.

The NZX 50 Index rose 1.620 points, or 0.03 percent, to 4768.98. Within the index, 25 stocks rose, 15 fell and ten were unchanged. Turnover was about $32 million.

Equity markets were mainly higher across Asia following gains on Wall Street last week, though with volumes so light in the New Zealand bourse, traders warned about reading too much into moves. The NZX 50 is heading for a 17 percent annual gain, after rising 25 percent in 2012 and may extend its gains given the bullish outlook for the domestic economy, they said.

"Everything you read is really positive about next year and that will drive confidence a bit higher," said Greg Easton, an adviser at Craigs Investment Partners. "People will be feeling wealthier. They want a piece of this boom as well."

Diligent climbed 10 percent to $3.78, having dropped 37 percent this year. Mainfreight, the transport group, rose 2 percent to $12 and Ebos Group rose 2.1 percent to $9.80.

Chorus, the network operator, rose 1.8 percent to $1.455 and Telecom gained 0.2 percent to $2.34.

Retailers were mixed despite early reports of strong post-Christmas sales. Michael Hill International fell 2.1 percent to $1.39. Trade Me, the auction website, fell 1.2 percent to $4.06, while Kathmandu rose 0.3 percent to $3.53. Warehouse Group was steady at $3.85 and Hallenstein Glasson Holdings held unchanged at $3.87.

Fletcher Building was unchanged at $8.52.

Retirement village operators were mixed. Ryman Healthcare rose 0.1 percent to $7.85 and Metlifecare gained 1 percent to $3.96 while Summerset Group fell 0.6 percent to $3.28.

Among companies facing some regulatory risks in 2014, MightyRiverPower rose 0.9 percent to $2.145 and Contact Energy gained 0.8 percent to $5.16. Meridian Energy fell 0.5 percent to $1.03.

Sky Network Television fell 0.7 percent to $5.85 and SkyCity Entertainment fell 1.6 percent to $3.82.

Auckland International Airport declined 1.9 percent to $3.53.

(BusinessDesk)

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