MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares rise, Mainfreight hits record

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New Zealand shares rose, led by Contact Energy and Mainfreight which hit a record, while Arvida Group and Australia & New Zealand Banking Group fell.

The S&P/NZX 50 Index gained 24.84 points, or 0.4 percent, to $7,037.58. Within the index, 23 stocks rose, 18 fell and nine were unchanged. Turnover was $114.8 million.

"There's not too much on the downside today, it's a pretty quiet Tuesday on our market, perhaps typical for this time of year with people still getting back into the swing of things - I guess maybe we start looking forward to reporting season from the middle of the month onwards," said James Smalley, director at Hamilton Hindin Greene. "We didn't get a lot of guidance from overseas - it's pretty flat to negative in Asia, negative from Australia. There may be a bit of bargain hunting in our market on some of those stocks that have been sold down a bit towards the end of last year."

At 5:15 pm local time, Hong Kong's Hang Seng was up 0.5 percent, Australia's S&P/ASX 200 was down 1 percent and Japan's Nikkei 400 was down 0.8 percent.

Contact Energy led the index, up 2.3 percent to $4.85, while Auckland International Airport rose 2 percent to $6.61 and Ryman Healthcare gained 1.8 percent to $8.42.

Mainfreight advanced 2.3 percent to $21.37, a record high. Overnight, data and research house IHS Markit published its composite Purchasing Managers' Index for the Eurozone, which rose to its highest since May 2011 with a weakened euro boosting demand for goods and services.

"Obviously the stock has done very well, on top of that the European PMI was the best it had been in about four years, and Europe's been where they've - not struggling, but there's been malaise in the European economy, so maybe that problem child is starting to work for them," Smalley said.

Arvida Group was the worst performer, down 2.2 percent to $1.32. Australia & New Zealand Banking Group dropped 1.7 percent to $32.72 and Chorus fell 1.6 percent to $4.04.

Warehouse Group dropped 1.4 percent to $2.77 and has now fallen 11.2 percent since Dec. 20 when it warned profit may fall between 10 and 15 percent in its first half. Today the retailer said it will trim down its organisational structure in a bid to cut costs, bundling its stationery and 'Red Sheds' into one division and its Noel Leeming and Torpedo7 groups into another.

"They're continuing to drift off after that rather out-of-the-blue negative trading update. We'd seen what Kathmandu and Briscoes had come out with, so it was a surprise to see that for the Warehouse," Smalley said.

Outside the benchmark index, Hellaby Holdings was unchanged at $3.52 while ASX-listed auto-parts company Bapcor dropped 0.9 percent to $5.975. Bapcor now owns 50.1 percent of Hellaby Holdings, establishing a controlling stake in its takeover target.

Bapcor is to waive its 90 percent condition, a threshold which would let it enforce mop-up provisions to take the company private, on its $3.60 takeover offer, as it has received acceptances for more than 50 percent of the shares.


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