MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares rise; Spark, Argosy gain on yield hunger

New Zealand shares rose, paced by Argosy Property and Spark New Zealand, as investors sought safer equities in globally choppy markets. Intueri Education Group dropped after upping its ownership in an Australia education group.

The NZX 50 Index rose 0.833 points, or 0.02 percent, to 5496.585. Within the index, 21 stocks rose, 21 fell and eight were unchanged. Turnover was $xx million.

Overnight US and European stock markets were mixed, with Wall Street declining on tumbling oil prices, while European indices gained on strong economic data out of Germany. Investors sought income paying stock investments, in a global environment of low inflation and interest rates.

Yield stocks gained. Spark, formerly Telecom Corp, rose 1.8 percent to $3.115. Argosy climbed 0.9 percent to a six-year high of $1.12. Infratil, the energy and infrastructure investor, advanced 1.2 percent to $2.955. DNZ Property Fund gained 1.3 percent to $1.885. Property For Industry increased 1.4 percent to $1.50.

“The energy sector is the one that is really moving around as the oil price continues to track down and a few investors are reviewing oil and gas,” Shane Solly, director at Harbour Asset Management, said. “People are looking for safer securer sources of income. Investors are a little bit cautious and buying those income, dividend-paying stocks.”

Skellerup Holdings, the industrial rubber goods manufacturer, was the best performer on the day advancing 2.1 percent to $1.44.

Chorus slipped 0.9 percent to $2.67. The telecommunications network operator has been given some breathing room from Moody’s Investors Service, which has upgraded the outlook on the company’s credit rating to ‘stable’ from ‘negative’ and affirmed its Baa3 rating, due to the regulator’s draft ruling on wholesale copper network pricing.

OceanaGold Corp was the worst performer on the day, dropping 4.1 percent to $2.09. The triple-listed gold miner is due to exit the benchmark index this Friday to be replaced by Metro Performance Glass, which was unchanged at $1.90.

Outside the benchmark index, Intueri dropped 7.3 percent to $2.55 after New Zealand’s largest private education provider bought the remaining half of Online Courses Australia Group that it doesn’t own for an initial payment of $14 million and the remainder based on next year’s earnings.

Wynyard Group rose 0.5 percent to $2.03 after the security software firm warned annual revenue may come in lower than its forecast $29 million as negotiations with some of its larger customers lag. Investors understood lumpy earnings in growth companies, Solly said.

Scales Corp was unchanged at $1.42 after the fruit and vegetables logistics company affirmed its earnings guidance of net profit of $20.8 million for 2015 with growth tipped across all of its units.

Comvita was unchanged at $3.65 after the Te Puke-based maker of health products based on manuka honey, raised $24.4 million as strong demand after yesterday’s shortfall bookbuild saw investors pay a 7 percent premium to the rights issue.

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