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NZ Sharemarket Warms To SkyCity's Flutter

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, Feb 16 NZPA - The New Zealand sharemarket enjoyed a positive day, rising nearly 1 percent, buoyed by SkyCity Entertainment's good news.

The benchmark NZX-50 index started at 3059.533 and rose 28.074 points, or 0.92 percent, to end the day at 3087.607.

Turnover of 25.8 million stock was worth $67.6 million. There were 47 rises and 33 falls.

Casino, hotel, restaurant and cinema operator SkyCity Entertainment Group today announced a 29.6 percent or $16.2m rise in its first half after-tax profit, to $71.02m and forecast its annual profit to be up to 15 percent higher.

Its shares rose 6c to 319 today on turnover worth $7.2m, up from $1.7m yesterday.

"Sky City's result was very good, you might have though it would have put on a bit more than that," said Craigs Investment Partners investment advisor Keith Ferguson.

However, the other two companies which reported today did not fare so well.

NZ Farming Systems Uruguay said its operating loss had halved to $US2.5m ($NZ3.4m) for the six months to the end of December thanks to better rainfall, growth in its farms, lower costs and better milk prices. Its share price dipped another 2c to 40. In May 2008 its shares reached a high of 200.

NZ Refining, which operates New Zealand's only oil refinery at Marsden Point, announced an 81 percent drop in net profits to $23.6m for 2009. Shares slipped 2c to 355.

Fletcher Building, which reports its half year results tomorrow, was up 18c to 764.

Freightways, which fell 15c after reporting a fall in interim profit yesterday, bounced back 3c today to 309.

Other improving stocks were Telecom, up 1c to 233, Goodman Fielder, rising 3c to 205, Fisher & Paykel Appliance, gaining 2c to 63, and AMP Office Trust, up 1c to 74.

Guinness Peat Group was up 1c to 84, Kiwi Income Property Trust gained 1c to 101, New Zealand Oil & Gas spurted 3c to 150 and Ryman Healthcare improved 3c to 205.

Auckland Airport was unchanged at 183, as was Tower at 190 and Property for Industry at 115.

Stocks losing ground were Hellaby Holdings, slimming 3c to 148, Port of Tauranga sinking 14c to 706, Cavalier Corporation losing 5c to 255.

ING Property lost 1c to 74, Fisher & Paykel Healthcare worsened 3c to 325 and Mainfreight slipped 2c to 576.

Asian sharemarkets posted mild gains today and Australian stocks were boosted 1 percent by upbeat earnings from the country's third-biggest lender Westpac. Shares in the bank rose 5.8 percent after it posted a better-than-expected 33 percent rise in cash profit but warned investors of rising funding costs and consumer defaults.

In Japan, the benchmark Nikkei edged up 0.5 percent and was holding just above the 10,000 mark for the third session in a row, with foreign investor buying reported in blue-chips, although the mood was fragile due to China and Greece.

Centres such as Hong Kong and Shanghai remained closed for the Lunar New Year and with US markets were also shut for President's Day.

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