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MARKET CLOSE: Shares rise on tech relief rally; Xero, Wynyard, SLI lift

 New Zealand stocks snapped a two-day decline as a rally in the US saw tech stocks regain some lost ground. Xero, Wynyard Group, GeoOp and SLI Systems rose. Kathmandu Holdings jumped as a takeover of Australia's David Jones lifted sentiment for retailers across the Tasman.

The NZX 50 Index rose 35.851 points, or 0.7 percent, to 5067.407. Within the index, 29 shares rose, 11 fell and 10 were unchanged. Turnover was $111 million.

Asian markets followed Wall Street higher as investors bought back into some of the tech stocks they'd sold off such as Yahoo, Google and Facebook. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index rose for the first time in four sessions to close 0.8 percent higher. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index climbed 1.2 percent and Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rose 1 percent.

Xero, the cloud-based accounting software firm, rose 1.9 percent to $32.10. Tech stocks outside the benchmark index also gained. Wynyard, the security software company, advanced 4.1 percent to $2.55. GeoOp, the small business task management app, increased 7.9 percent to $1.50. SLI Systems, the search engine developers, climbed 4.1 percent to $2.03.

"There's been some strength in the Asian markets and that's flowed into our market," said Chris Timms, investment adviser at Craigs Investment Partners. "There was a relief rally on the Dow overnight so a lot of the stocks we've seen sold off, particularly the likes of the tech area, have had quite a good recovery."

David Jones, Australia's largest department store by market value, announced a conditional takeover offer worth A$2.15 billion South African retailer Woolworths Holdings, which helped buoy kiwi retailers with trans-Tasman exposure. David Jones surged 23 percent to A$3.915 on the ASX.

Kathmandu, the outdoor goods retailer which gets two thirds of its sales from Australia, led the market higher, up 5 percent to $3.76. Brisbane-based jeweller Michael Hill International rose 2.3 percent to $1.36. A2 Corp, the milk marketer that counts Australia its largest market, rose 3.6 percent to 87 cents.

Woolworths' offer for David Jones "may be feeding through that whole retail sector," Timms said.

Restaurant Brands rose 4.6 percent to $2.98 after the nation's largest fast-food operator posted a 23 percent rise in annual profit after it boosted sales and forecast increased earnings throughout the year.

Summerset Holdings slipped 0.6 percent to $3.39. The retirement village operator lifted occupation rights in the first quarter from a year earlier but at a slower rate than the previous year.

Telecom rose 2.4 percent to $2.58. Fletcher Building, New Zealand's largest listed company, advanced 1.2 percent to $9.59. Ryman Healthcare fell 0.8 percent to $8.26.

Energy stocks were mixed. MightyRiverPower rose 1.2 percent to $2.17. Contact Energy advanced 0.4 percent to $5.26. Auckland lines company Vector fell 0.4 percent to $2.44 and TrustPower declined 0.2 percent to $6.43. Meridian Energy was unchanged at $1.135. The general offer for shares in state-owned Genesis Energy closes on Friday.

Outside the benchmark index, Seeka Kiwifruit Industries was unchanged at $2.60. The fruit grower, coolstore and packhouse operator, has agreed to buy Glassfields (NZ), the fruit ripening and delivery services business, for as much as $6.25 million as it looks for growth away from the stricken kiwifruit industry.

(BusinessDesk)