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MARKET CLOSE: Shares rise, led by Goodman Property on profit boost; Trade Me, Xero rise

 New Zealand shares rose, led by Goodman Property Trust, after the property investor said full year net profit rose 72 percent. Trade Me and Xero paced the gains while Ryman Healthcare fell ahead of reporting earnings tomorrow.

The NZX 50 Index rose 14.017 points, or 0.3 percent, to 5213.359. Within the index, 26 stocks rose, 14 fell and 10 were unchanged. Turnover was $83.6 million.

Goodman Property, the largest property investor by market value, climbed 3 percent to $1.035 after saying full-year profit rose to $134 million, driven by a 25 percent increase in rental revenue and accounting adjustments. The trust, which is managed by Goodman (NZ), announced governance changes including paying more of its management fees via units rather than cash and funding new developments through asset sales rather than equity raising.

"There was a good result out of Goodman today," said Robert Garden, an investment advisor with Craigs Investment Partners. That "provides support to the property sector, which has run up a bit in recent weeks."

DNZ Property Fund rose 1 percent to $1.595. Property for Industry advanced 0.4 percent to $1.325 ahead of its annual general meeting this Friday. Argosy Property, which is due to report full-year results next week, was unchanged at 95 cents.

Ryman fell 0.2 percent to $8.88 and has advanced 13 percent this year. The retirement village operator reports full-year earnings tomorrow.

"Investors are waiting for a bit more meat in the sandwich to come into the market in terms of earnings," Garden said. "They'll be watching Ryman keenly, particularly for some more concrete news out of their Australian operations and how their sales in Melbourne are going."

Rival retirement village operator Summerset Group Holdings rose 0.6 percent to $3.58. Metlifecare advanced 0.7 percent to $4.25.

Stocks with exposure across the Tasman slipped as investors mulled the impact of spending cuts in the Australian Federal Budget.

Dual-listed lender Westpac Banking Corp was the NZX 50's worst performer on the day, down 3.4 percent to $37.18. Fletcher Building, which gets 50 percent of its earnings from Australian operations, fell 0.8 percent to $9.32. SkyCity Entertainment Group, which operates Darwin and Adelaide casinos, declined 1.2 percent to $4.11. Brisbane-based jeweller Michael Hill International dropped 1.5 percent to $1.30.

"Most of New Zealand's big companies have some kind of exposure to the Australian economy," said Shane Solly, director at Harbour Asset Management. "There have been some elements of the Australian budget which will require belt tightening but not as much as expected."

Solly and Garden both said they don't expect surprises out of New Zealand's budget tomorrow, which will likely affirm the track of economic growth.

Trade Me Group, the online auction site, advanced 2.5 percent to $4.05. Warehouse Group, New Zealand's largest-listed retailer, climbed 2.1 percent to $3.38.Kathmandu Holdings, the outdoor goods retailer, rose 0.5 percent to $3.90.

Telecom, New Zealand's largest telecommunications provider, lifted 0.2 percent to $2.69. Xero, the cloud-based accounting software firm, increased 1.4 percent to $31.85. Auckland International Airport, the nation's busiest gateway, advanced 0.6 percent to $4.135. Port of Tauranga climbed 0.6 percent to $14.43.

(BusinessDesk)