Market close: NZX 50 Index charts record high again - Diligent, Xero gain

New Zealand shares rose, pushing the NZX 50 Index to a new record, as investors were attracted by the prospect of continued earnings and dividend growth and tech companies Diligent Board Member Services and Xero continued their ascent.

The NZX 50 rose 12.548 points, or 0.3 percent, to 4366.575. Within the index, 22 stocks rose, 21 fell and seven were unchanged. Turnover was $156 million.

Diligent, which provides web-based portals for boards of directors, climbed 3.4 percent to a record $6.46. The company told the NZX today it cannot explain the meteoric rise of increased volumes of stock traded.

"It is an incredibly well-performing company with high growth rates that are sustainable," said Mark Warminger, a portfolio manager at Milford Asset Management. "As the story is more and more discovered you're getting more people buying into the story." The stock is "moving up to fair value".

Xero, the cloud-based accounting company which is yet to turn a profit, rose 4.4 percent to $9.50, a record close.

Telecom, the biggest phone company on the NZX 50, rose 2.8 percent to $2.41 and Ryman Healthcare climbed 1.5 percent to $4.63.

More than half the stocks on the benchmark index have gained more than 20 percent in the past 12 months and eight are up more than 50 percent. The latest earnings season gave investors room for optimism.

"In terms of valuation, the local sharemarkets currently appear slightly above fair value on a price/earnings basis," Mr Warminger said. Still, "we expect earnings to be revised upwards over the coming 12 months, and this would mean that markets could hold further upside".

Fletcher Building fell 0.4 percent to $9.26.

Wellington Drive Technologies, the unprofitable manufacturer of energy efficient motors, rose 14.3 percent to 16 cents when a trading halt on the stock was lifted. The company is raising $4 million in a placement to institutions, managers and existing investors such as SuperLife Investments to fund its growth as it aims to achieve a pretax profit next year.

Pumpkin Patch, the children's clothing chain, rose 2.3 percent to $1.33, while among other retailers Kathmandu fell 3.5 percent to $2.45 and Warehouse Group dropped 1.1 percent to $3.75.

Government figures today showed retail spending on credit, debit and charge cards last month rose 0.8 percent, seasonally adjusted, according to Statistics New Zealand.

That is the biggest gain since August last year and beats the median forecast in a Reuters survey of 0.5 percent.

Sky Network Television, the pay-TV company, fell 0.2 percent to $5.18 and Sky City Entertainment Group gained 0.7 percent to $4.27.

Fisher & Paykel Healthcare rose 1.2 percent to $2.58, with $8.8 million of shares traded. Freightways rose 1.4 percent to $4.48 and Mainfreight dipped 0.8 percent to $11.85.

(BusinessDesk)

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NZ Market Snapshot

Forex

Sym Price Change
USD 0.7788 0.0010 0.13%
AUD 0.9516 0.0000 0.00%
EUR 0.6344 0.0016 0.25%
GBP 0.4976 0.0012 0.24%
HKD 6.0397 0.0072 0.12%
JPY 92.9870 0.4420 0.48%

Commods

Commodity Price Change Time
Gold Index 1198.3 8.880 2014-12-18T00:
Oil Brent 59.3 -1.910 2014-12-18T00:
Oil Nymex 54.4 -2.430 2014-12-18T00:
Silver Index 15.9 0.010 2014-12-18T00:

Indices

Symbol Open High Last %
NZX 50 5518.5 5545.0 5518.5 0.17%
NASDAQ 4712.4 4748.4 4644.3 2.24%
DAX 9711.6 9811.1 9544.4 2.79%
DJI 17367.8 17778.4 17356.9 2.43%
FTSE 6336.5 6466.0 6336.5 2.04%
HKSE 23158.3 23189.6 22832.2 1.44%
NI225 17511.0 17621.4 17210.0 2.39%