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NZ sharemarket closes higher, Nuplex falls

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, April 14 NZPA - The New Zealand sharemarket closed higher today, reflecting buoyant global equity markets, but Nuplex shares closed down as coverage of a court action against it alleging a breach of continuous disclosure continued.

The benchmark NZX-50 index closed up 25.479 points, or 0.773 percent, at 3335.513, which is a new 18-month high. Turnover was worth $63.8 million. There were 46 rises and 29 falls among the 115 stocks traded.

Shares in industrial resins and specialties group Nuplex Industries closed down 7c at 340, and traded as low as 335, after the Securities Commission yesterday filed civil proceedings against the company and six current and former directors.

The commission alleges Nuplex breached its continuous disclosure obligations under the NZX Listing Rules and the Securities Markets Act by failing to disclose to the market a breach of a banking covenant.

Nuplex denies the allegations. Nuplex's non-executive director David Jackson resigned from the Securities Commission today.

The company has become a market darling since carrying out a deeply discounted capital raising to restore its balance sheet. Its share price has more than tripled from a year ago.

"It is probably, as we term it in this industry, a bit of an excuse to take profits," said Adrian Vance, director at Hamilton, Hindin, Greene.

"The stock has had an unbelievable run up since the days that are in question," he said.

Among the leaders Telecom rose 4c to 224, Fletcher Building rose 17c to 845 and Contact Energy rose 4c to 648.

Also gaining were Hallenstein Glassons up 5c to 350, Mainfreight 5c to 650 and Sanford 11c to 456, Skellerup 2c to 61 and Sky City 2c to 330.

Air NZ eased a cent to 140. Hellaby eased 3c to 159 and NZ Refining eased 5c to 390.

In the mining and resources sector, Heritage Gold rose 0.3c to 2.9c, Cue Energy rose 3c to 33 and OceanaGold rose 4c to 353, but Pike River Coal eased a cent to 111.

Asian equity markets were strong after Intel posted a stronger-than-expected first quarter profit after the US market closed.

In the United States, stocks eked out a gain as investors looked ahead to earnings from big banks and tech bellwethers, even as disappointing revenue from Alcoa Inc acted as a headwind.

The Dow Jones industrial average finished up 0.1 percent at 11,019.42, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index ended up 0.1 percent at 1197.29, and the Nasdaq Composite Index was up 0.3 percent at 2465.99.

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