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NZ shares rise to five-year high

Thursday 20 Dec 2012 6:17 p.m.

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New Zealand shares rose to a new five-year high, as foreign investors were drawn to the nation's relatively attractive returns and cheered the expansion plans of companies such as SkyCity Entertainment Group.

Mainfreight and Diligent Board Members Services hit new records.

The NZX 50 Index rose 52.45 points, or 1.3 percent, to 4075.45, the highest close since December 2007.

Within the index, 33 stocks rose, eight fell and nine were unchanged. Turnover was a higher-than-average $166 million, surprising traders who were expecting a pre-Christmas wind-down.

SkyCity rose 1.3 percent to $3.84, extending its gains when it announced it had reached agreement with the South Australia state government on the expansion of its Adelaide casino.

Separately, SkyCity said it sold its half-share of Christchurch casino and has taken full ownership of Queenstown's gaming centre.

The SkyCity announcement on Adelaide "has been very well received", said David Price, a broker at Forsyth Barr.

The Adelaide expansion added about 25 cents to the stock's valuation.

Diligent, which has soared 159 percent this year, rose 5.8 percent to $5.30, leading the NZX 50 higher. Xero, the cloud-based accounting platform, fell 1.3 percent to $7.60.

The two tech companies have been the star performers on the bourse this year, with Xero climbing 179 percent.

That's prompted some key investors to trim their holdings, including Trade Me founder Sam Morgan, who has reduced his stake below 5 per cent.

Trade Me declined 1.3 percent to $3.94. Australia's Fairfax Media sold its 51 percent stake this week.

Mainfreight rose about 4 percent to a record close of $11.75.

Fletcher Building rose 2.2 percent to $8.45.

Chorus rose 4.4 percent to $2.84, recovering some of the ground lost last week when the regulator gave a draft view on network price controls.


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