MARKET CLOSE New Zealand: stocks mixed, F and P Healthcare gains on guidance

New Zealand shares were mixed. Fisher & Paykel Healthcare led gainers after raising full-year profit guidance for a second time. Fletcher Building paced the advance after First NZ Capital upgraded its recommendation.

The NZX 50 index edged up 0.109 points or 0.002 percent to 4895.097. Within the index, 16 stocks rose, 28 fell and six were unchanged. Turnover was $118 million.

F&P Healthcare rose 3.5 percent to $4.19, and has gained 79 percent in the past 12 months. The Auckland-based company, which exports most of its breathing apparatus, said increased demand for it sleep apnea masks meant annual profit was likely to be about $97 million, up from previous guidance of $90 million to $95 million, and 26 percent ahead of its 2013 profit.

"People have been watching Fisher & Paykel for a while," said James Snell director of institutional equities at First NZ Capital. "They're wary of the headwinds of the high kiwi dollar, but once people have confirmation of growth they're happy to buy that story."

Fletcher rose 0.6 percent to $9.60. The biggest company on the NZX 50 Index had its price target upgraded to $10.25 from $9 by brokerage First NZ Capital because of a pickup in the Australian building sector and benefits of the company's cost cutting. The company reports first-half earnings on Thursday.

Online auction website Trade Me Group gained 0.3 percent to $4.05. Ebos Group, the healthcare and animal products company, rose 0.5 percent to $9.70. Meridian Energy edged up 1 percent to $1.035. Trade Me reports full-year earnings tomorrow, while Ebos and Meridian will announce half-year results.

"People are waiting for earnings to see if companies are falling in line with expectations," Snell said. "The market is ready for the big earnings days ahead. There is a wall of the leaders coming through."

Precinct Properties New Zealand fell 1.5 percent to $1.015. The commercial property investor reported a gain in first-half earnings on growth in its Auckland rental income, while growth in Wellington stalled.

Contact Energy slipped 0.4 percent to $5.17. New Zealand's second-biggest listed energy provider's first-half results showed 5 percent growth in underlying earnings, with improved sales and lower wholesale electricity prices offsetting weak overall demand.

Port of Tauranga declined 0.4 percent to $13.95 .Auckland International Airport rose 0.1 percent to $3.585. Nuplex Industries, the specialty chemical maker, was unchanged at $3.40. All three companies are report earnings on Thursday.

Sky Network Television edged up 0.4 percent to $5.77. The country's dominant pay-TV operator sought preliminary indicators of interest in a retail bond offer, which would raise up to $100 million in capital for the company.

Telecom fell 1.2 percent to $2.39. Air New Zealand declined 0.3 percent to $1.69. SkyCity Entertainment Group slipped 0.3 percent to $3.75.

Melbourne-based miner OceanaGold led decliners on the index, down 2.8 percent to $2.75. Insurance provider Tower declined 2.4 percent to $ 1.62 and Restaurant Brands sank 2.1 percent to $2.74.

(BusinessDesk)

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NZ Market Snapshot

Forex

Sym Price Change
USD 0.7740 -0.0003 -0.04%
AUD 0.9511 0.0005 0.05%
EUR 0.6324 -0.0002 -0.03%
GBP 0.4954 0.0001 0.02%
HKD 6.0039 0.0001 0.00%
JPY 92.5100 -0.0050 -0.01%

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Gold Index 1195.4 -2.890 2014-12-19T00:
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Silver Index 16.0 0.090 2014-12-19T00:

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NZX 50 5518.5 5545.0 5518.5 0.17%
NASDAQ 4752.6 4782.1 4748.4 0.36%
DAX 9901.3 9901.3 9811.1 -0.25%
DJI 17778.0 17874.0 17778.2 0.15%
FTSE 6466.0 6566.9 6466.0 1.23%
HKSE 23158.3 23189.6 22832.2 1.25%
NI225 17511.0 17621.4 17210.0 2.39%