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MARKET CLOSE: Shares rise on first trading day of 2014, paced by Telecom, Fonterra

New Zealand shares rose on the first trading day of 2014, a year brokers are tipping as the third of annual gains, paced by Telecom and Fonterra Shareholders' Fund. Holiday trading volumes were light.

The NZX 50 Index climbed 32.028 points, or 0.7 percent, to 4769.038. Within the index, 24 stocks rose, 15 fell and 11 were unchanged. Turnover was $28 million, less than a third of the daily average last year.

OceanaGold climbed 11 percent to $1.90 after brokerage Craigs Investment Partners was reported as saying the miner's copper interests in the Philippines was providing a buffer to volatile gold prices as it squeezed costs out of its New Zealand mines.

"Their operating cash costs show Oceana has been one of the best operators in the southern hemisphere," Craigs broker Peter McIntyre told the NZ Herald. "For Oceana, it's all about extending the mine life of the assets they have, and they have been nimble at that."

Diligent Board Members Services, punished last year because of accounting missteps, rose 5.5 percent to $4.01. Auckland International Airport, New Zealand's busiest gateway, rose 2.6 percent to $3.62.

Telecom, the biggest phone company on the NZX 50, rose 2.4 percent to $2.36.

Fonterra, whose units entitle investors to the dividends on its ordinary shares, rose 1.7 percent to $5.90.

Tower gained 0.6 percent to $1.76. The general insurer, which sold the majority of its life insurance business to Fidelity Life Assurance in May, said today it had decided to retain its remaining life assets after ending talks with potential buyers. The company is returning $70 million via a buyback that ends this month.

Retailers were mostly weaker despite early reports of busy post-Christmas sales. Outdoor clothing chain Kathmandu fell 3 percent to $3.40. Hallenstein Glasson Holdings, the clothing retailer, fell 0.5 percent to $3.85 while Warehouse Group edged up 0.3 percent to $3.75. Trade Me, the auction website, slipped 0.3 percent to $4.05.

Ebos Group declined 1.6 percent to $9.55 and SkyCity Entertainment Group gained 1.9 percent to $3.80. Fisher & Paykel Healthcare fell 0.8 percent to $3.82.

(BusinessDesk)

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