MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares up as yield appeals, Sky TV and A2 gain

New Zealand shares rose, with Sky Network Television bouncing back from lows and A2 Milk Co advancing to a new record.

The S&P/NZX50 Index gained 12.81 points, or 0.2 percent, to 7,790.21. Within the index, 23 stocks rose, 22 fell and five were unchanged. Turnover was $160.3 million.

James Smalley, senior advisor at Hamilton Hindin Greene, said the local index had held up well given offshore weakness from the US market overnight and negative leads from Australia.

"I think investors are just coming into the market in the afternoon looking for bargains," Smalley said. "There was a sell off overnight after a drop in US Treasury yields - if that implies lower interest rates that flows into our interest rates. That means that the difference between a term deposit and the yield on the market is still going to be significant, and it makes our market even more attractive."

Sky Network Television led the index higher, up 4.6 percent to $2.71. The stock has dropped 43 percent this year and is down 12 percent since its earnings announcement in August, while reports last week that Amazon may bid on the sports rights it currently holds saw the stock drop to 18-year lows.

"It has been in the spotlight recently for all the wrong reasons, but it looks like there are a few bargain hunters today," Smalley said. "It had to have a bit of a relief rally at some stage, and existing investors will hope it is sustained."

A2 Milk gained 2.5 percent to $5.77, a fresh high for the stock which has jumped 164 percent this year. Mercury New Zealand rose 2.4 percent to $3.49, and Investore Property advanced 2.2 percent to $1.40.

Heartland Bank, which gave up rights to a 5.5 cent final dividend, was the worst performer. It dropped 4 cents, or 2.1 percent, to $1.90. Comvita fell 1.9 percent to $7.36 and Scales Corp dropped 1.8 percent to $3.34.

Outside the benchmark index, IkeGPS gained 3.6 percent to 29 cents. The laser measurement toolmaker has released the details for its $1.3 million capital raising through a share purchase plan for existing shareholders.

The company flagged the plan last month, when it raised $3.7 million in an oversubscribed placement to Australian and New Zealand institutional and wholesale investors. New Zealand shareholders as of Aug. 31 will be invited to subscribe for up to $15,000 in new fully paid ordinary shares at 29 cents per share.

Plexure Group jumped 25 percent to 15 cents. Chief executive Scott Bradley is leaving the company today, rounding out an overhaul of the business which is expected to help narrow the digital ad firm's first-half loss and generate positive cashflow this month.


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