MARKET CLOSE NZ shares rise; F and P Healthcare up on ResMed, Fletcher, Chorus gain

New Zealand shares rose as Fisher & Paykel Healthcare benefited from a rival’s record earnings and investors pushed up market leaders Fletcher Building, Chorus and Telecom.

The NZX Index rose 37.124 points, or 0.8 percent, to 4582.891. Within the index, 22 stocks rose, 12 fell and 16 were unchanged. Turnover was $100.9 million.

F&P Healthcare rose 2.6 percent to $3.62 after rival breathing mask maker ResMed posted a 21 percent increase in profit, underlining strong demand in key markets such as the US for the devices.

“It was a reasonably positive result from ResMed so it shows underlying growth is stronger than expected,” said Shane Solly, portfolio manager at Mint Asset Management.

“The market continues to grind higher,” he said. “People are putting some money back into the market.”

Fletcher rose 1.9 percent to $8.41, helped by Australian figures this week showing housing credit grew 4.6 percent in June, a sign the tepid housing market across the Tasman may be warming up.

Telecom rose 2.4 percent to $2.325 and Chorus, which announced a new $250 million credit facility today, gained 2.6 percent to $2.77.

Pumpkin Patch, the children’s clothing chain, rose 2.4 percent to 87 cents on light volume of just 11,486 shares, rebounding from its slide this week in the wake of the departure of chief executive Neil Cowie. Retailing veteran Di Humphries is seen as a strong contender to replace him.

Briscoe Group rose 0.4 percent to $2.37 after managing director Rod Duke told BusinessDesk he was keen for the homeware and sporting goods chain to make an acquisition of up to $200 million, drawing on a big accumulated pile of cash. Separately, broker First NZ Capital upgraded its recommendation to ‘neutral’ on yesterday’s second-quarter sales growth.

Kiwi Income Property Trust rose 0.9 percent to $1.15 after a Craigs Investment Partners research note said the property investor may have to sell assets or raise capital to cut debt as part of a proposal to internalise its management contract.

Units in the Fonterra Shareholders’ Fund fell 0.8 percent to $7.12 two days after lifting its forecast milk payout to farmers on slim global supply and a weaker currency, while saying its dividend may be at risk due to a squeeze on margins. First NZ Capital upgraded its recommendation on the stock to ‘outperform’, calling the dip a buying opportunity.

Xero fell 0.5 percent to $17.02 a day after telling shareholders at its annual meeting it expects sales to grow at least 80 percent in the 2014 financial year, though its aspirations for growth will widen its net loss. The cloud-based accounting software developer added another 36,000 customers since the end of March, taking annualised monthly revenue to about $64 million.

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