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MARKET CLOSE NZ shares rise on broker picks

New Zealand shares rose on the first trading day of 2013 as investors drove up companies that have featured on broker lists for 2013, such as PGG Wrightson and Ryman Healthcare.

The NZX 50 Index rose 15.85 points, or 0.4%, to 4082.36. Within the index, 33 stocks rose, eight fell and nine were unchanged. Turnover was a lower-than-average $49.6 million.

PGG Wrightson, the nation's biggest rural services company, rose 4.6% to 46c, the highest since August 30 last year.

Ryman rose 2.9% to $4.68 while Diligent Board Services, a popular broker pick, advanced 0.6% to $5.50.

"There's money chasing these broker picks in a very illiquid market," says Matthew Goodson, portfolio manager at BT Funds Management.

Helping sentiment, "there appears to be a very nice recovery occurring in the US. Housing has well and truly bottomed and we had a reasonable ISM."

Markit's US Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index rose to 54, higher than expected, and taken with the agreement in Washington on the fiscal cliff, helped the Dow Jones Industrial Average to climb 2.4.

Fletcher Building rose 0.8 to $8.46 while Telecom fell 2.9 to $2.21.

Guinness Peat Group was unchanged at 59.5c after saying said it has realised another £18.7 million selling assets, including wholly-owned subsidiary Gosford Quarry Holdings and stakes in Metals X, GME Resources, Nationwide Accident Repair Services, Sysmedia Group and Touch Holdings.

Xero, the cloud-based accounting service that soared in 2012, fell 1.6% to $7.48.

Skellerup Holdings, which also featured among broker picks for 2013, rose 1.9% to $1.62. Contact Energy, the biggest power company on the benchmark index, rose 1.5% to $5.28.

Auckland International Airport rose 1.5% to $2.71 and Infratil gained 1.3% to $2.30.

Among small cap stocks, Pacific Edge, which is selling a test for bladder cancer, rose 5.6% to 57c. Dorchester Pacific rose 3% to 34c.


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