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Market close: NZ shares gain, Trade Me up as Fairfax sells

Shares rise, led by Trade Me after parent Fairfax Media sells down its stake to pay for a three-year restructuring of its papers. Xero and Diligent fall on their NZX debut.

Mon, 18 Jun 2012

BUSINESSDESK: New Zealand shares rose, led by online auction site Trade Me after parent Fairfax Media sold down its stake to pay for a three-year restructuring of its newspapers.

Xero and Diligent fell on their debut in the NZX 50 Index, having risen ahead of today.

The NZX 50 rose 8.604 points, or 0.3%, to 3455.678. Within the index, 21 stocks rose, 20 fell and nine were unchanged. Turnover was about $211 million, twice the daily average, with almost half of that made up in Trade Me.

Shares of Trade Me rose 5.6% to $3.76. Sydney-based Fairfax sold 59.4 million shares for A$2.70 apiece, in a fully underwritten placement for a total $A160 million, a 3.2% discount to their price at the close of Australian trading on Friday.

"It's not a huge surprise that Fairfax has sold down some of its shares - other parts of their business aren't going as well as Trade Me," said Mark Lister, head of private wealth research at Craigs Investment Partners.

"It doesn't really change the fundamentals of Trade Me's business - from an investors' case it's probably a positive."

ASX-listed Fairfax shares jumped 7.4% to 64 Australian cents.

Shares in Xero and Diligent Board Member Services fell today after the locally-listed tech-companies entered the benchmark NZX 50 index.

Xero fell 1.1% to 4.73, while Diligent shares dropped 1.4% to $3.51.

"They’re now in the NZX 50 list which brings them onto the radar screen of more investors," Mr Lister said. "They are weaker today but I wouldn't read anything into that."

Fletcher Building rose 0.2% to $6.30 after Mark Adamson was named as the construction company's new chief executive, replacing Jonathan Ling.

Mr Adamson, Fletcher’s chief executive for laminates and panels, will take up the top job starting on October 1. The appointment follows a global search after Mr Ling said he wanted to retire after six years at the helm.

"I don't think the announcement will be taken too badly, the new chap’s not a household name but the larger institutional investors will know who he is," Mr Lister said.

"Ling is a good CEO but there are mixed views over whether he has done the right things over the past couple of years."

Nuplex Industries, the specialty chemicals maker, fell 0.4% to $2.53. The company said today that it has raised $US105 million by tapping the US private placement market. The funds to refinance a facility used to acquire Viverso last year.

Oceanagold, which operates the Macraes gold field, fell 3.4% to $2.57. The stock has seesawed along with the price of gold and the historically high New Zealand dollar.

Spot gold was recently quoted at $US1622.64 an ounce, and has gained from $US1538.05 in mid-May.

Shares of Chatham Rock last traded on the NZAX at 24 cents and have soared 41% this year.

Odyssey Marine Exploration, the Nasdaq-listed marine explorer, has emerged as a 12.2% shareholder in Chatham Rock Phosphate after the company investigated the feasibility of mining rock phosphate from the seabed used shares to pay for the ship charter.

Sky Network Television, the pay-TV company controlled by News Corp, rose 1.8% to $4.99. Sky City Entertainment Group, the hotel and casino operator, rose 1.4% to $3.54.

Telecom, the biggest company on the exchange, rose 0.6%.

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Market close: NZ shares gain, Trade Me up as Fairfax sells