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MARKET CLOSE: Stocks rise in global rally; Nuplex, Pacific Edge, A2 climb

New Zealand stocks edged higher in a global rally as data showed signs of economic growth, while expansion in the domestic economy is likely to see the Reserve Bank hike the official cash rate for a third time this Thursday. Nuplex Industries, Pacific Edge and A2 Milk Company rose.

The NZX 50 Index rose 4.912 points, or 0.1 percent, to 5187.349 Within the index, 25 stocks gained, 11 fell and 14 were unchanged. Turnover was $112 million.

On Friday Wall Street benchmark indexes closed at a record high, as US unemployment remained steady at 6.3 percent and the country added a net 217,000 workers in May, the fourth straight month above 200,000. Stocks across Asia were further bolstered by data showing Japan's economy expanded at a 6.7 percent annualised pace in the first quarter, beating economists' 5.6 percent forecasts while China said exports rose 7 percent last month from a year earlier. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rose 0.7 percent in afternoon trading, while Japan's Nikkei 225 lifted 0.4 percent.

NZ Oil & Has rose 2.5 percent to 81.5 cents, leading the market higher. Pacific Edge gained 2.4 percent to 86 cents. Nuplex, the specialty chemical maker, rose 1.5 percent to $3.36 and A2 Milk advanced 1.3 percent to 78 cents.

On Thursday, central bank governor Graeme Wheeler will lift the OCR by a quarter point to 3.25 percent according to 16 of 17 economists in a Reuters' survey. The governor's commentary surrounding the pace of future hikes will be studied closely since the bank's March monetary policy statement figures have shown inflation accelerated at a lower-than-expected 0.3 percent in the first quarter, while there are signs heat in the housing market is dissipating at least partly in response to curbs on low-equity loans.

"It's really a double edged sword because interest rates going up is showing there is good growth in the economy, therefore companies' earnings should be improving but on the other side investors will start to favour leaving money in the banks, rather than put it into the share market because the banks are offering better rates to them," said Grant Williamson, director at Hamilton Hindin Greene. "Interest rates, on a historical basis, are still very low. I think it still favours the equities market."

Stock market operator NZX fell 0.8 percent to $1.33.

Telecom, the nation's biggest telecommunications provider, rose 0.6 percent to $2.715. The company, which is in the process of changing its name to Spark, announced Kevin Roberts, chief executive worldwide of Saatchi and Saatchi, has retired from the board after nearly six years and will be replaced by Yoobi co-founder Ido Leffler.

Units in Fonterra Shareholders' Fund rose 0.2 percent to $5.96. Fonterra Cooperative Group has tapped Robert Spurway to head up its global operations division in a newly created role as New Zealand's dominant dairy exporter chases global ingredient sales to offset volatility in dairy prices. Units in the fund give investors access to the dairy exporter's dividend stream.

MightyRiverPower advanced 0.4 percent to $2.27. The government controlled power company's proposed issue of up to $300 million of July 2044 bonds has been rated BB+ and assessed as 'intermediate equity' by Standard & Poor's, meaning the ratings company will classify 50 percent of the interest paid as dividends.

Fletcher Building, New Zealand's largest listed company, slipped 0.4 percent to $9.15. Xero, the cloud-based accounting software firm, rose 0.03 percent to a near two-month low at $29.42.

Outside the benchmark index, Green Cross Healthcare fell 1.3 percent, or 2 cents, to $1.57 as the pharmacy chain and community health centre owner shed rights to its final 3.5 cents dividend.

Off the bourse, Hirepool, the equipment rental company controlled by Australian private equity firm Next Capital, has confirmed plans to go public with an initial public offering, said to be aimed at raising $250 million.

(BusinessDesk)

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