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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares rise to 5-year high

New Zealand shares rose, pushing the NZX 50 Index to a new five-year high, led by stocks that are among broker picks for 2013, such as PGG Wrightson and Ryman Healthcare.

The NZX 50 rose 15.45 points, or 0.4%, to 4080.90, the highest close since December 2007, bringing its gain this year to 24%. Within the index, 22 stocks rose, 12 fell and 16 were unchanged. Turnover was a lower-than-average $57 million, reflecting reduced trading during the Christmas-New Year holiday period.

PGG Wrightson, the nation's biggest rural services company, gained 4.8% to 44c, the highest close since September 2011. It was among three companies singled out in a New Zealand Herald survey of brokers this week for gains in 2013.

Of the other two, Ryman rose 0.7% to a record $4.51 and Diligent Board Member Services rose 0.6% to $5.47, for a 183% gain this year.

"There's quite a lot of confidence in the market" for 2013, said Greg Easton, an adviser at Craigs Investment Partners. "While we don't expect another 25% gain next year, returns will still beat the banks."

Telecom rose 2.9% to $2.31 and has gained 9.2% this year. Australian wealth manager AMP rose 2.8% to $6.17.

Hellaby Holdings rose 5.6% to $3.38, adding to its gains yesterday, when the company said it would buy a controlling stake in specialised engineering maintenance and industrial cleaning company Contract Resources.

Pacific Edge, which is marketing a test for bladder cancer, rose 6% to 53c.

Fletcher Building, the biggest company on the NZX 50, fell 0.6% to $8.40. Contact Energy declined 0.2% to $5.27.

Hallenstein Glasson fell 1.1% to $5.34 and Restaurant Brands fell 1.5% to $2.64.

Mainfreight rose 1.1%t to $11.80, OceanaGold climbed 1.5% to $3.45 and Sky Network TV rose 1.2% to $4.90.

Steel & Tube Holdings dropped 1.6% to $2.40 and was the biggest decliner today.

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