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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares rise; ANZ, Westpac gain, Pacific Edge up on new test

New Zealand shares rose, led by Australia and New Zealand Banking Group and Westpac Banking Corp after an Australian report proposed restrictions on lenders that were less onerous than feared. Pacific Edge gained on the launch of its second commercialised product.

The NZX 50 Index rose 7.413 points, or 0.1 percent, to 5529.322. Within the index, 23 stocks rose, 23 fell and four were unchanged. Turnover was a lighter-than-usual $88.9 million.

Across the Tasman 'the big four' Australian banks, which own New Zealand's major banks, rose after the government's Murray Report into the finance sector proposed milder changes than the market was expecting, including lifting how much capital banks must keep on hand. ANZ gained 3.5 percent to $35.40 and Westpac rose 3.4 percent to $36.45.

"The banks had come back a long way in the expectation of what the capital requirements would be," said David Price, a broker at Forsyth Barr. "I think the market prepared for the worst and it hasn't turned out that way."

Pacific Edge rose 1.2 percent to 86 cents, paring an intraday climb as high as 88 cents. The Dunedin-based non-invasive bladder cancer test developer launched its second cancer test in New Zealand and flags a US launch early next year. The company aims to develop a range of products to meet the specific needs for the detection and management of bladder cancer, growing annual revenue to $100 million in the coming years and is targeting the US to be a large portion of that income.

"These are milestone announcements you expect them to make," Price said. "The thing we want to see is the uptake of the tests - at its first-half the percentage increase we saw were quite large percentage wise but we didn't get to see the scale."

Chorus advanced 2.1 percent to $2.705, extending last week's gains after the Commerce Commission lifted how much it can charge for use of its copper lines. Spark New Zealand, formerly Telecom Corp and Chorus's biggest copper customer, rose 0.9 percent to $2.935, recovering some of last week's losses after the draft determination could drive up its costs by $60 million a year and hurt earnings.

"Some of the market had expected some of the pricing change would stick with Spark so they'd benefit and not pass it on," Price said. "We certainly didn't think that we thought they'd have the one off gain, which is what appears to have unfolded."

NZX fell 1.6 percent to $1.20. The stock market operator will spend up to $35 million buying fund manager and Kiwisaver provider SuperLife as part of a plan to capture the growing Kiwisaver market by launching a series of new exchange traded fund in the coming year.

Fletcher Building, the construction and building supplies company, was unchanged at $8.50.

OceanaGold was the worst performer on the benchmark index, declining 4.6 percent to $2.31.

Outside the benchmark index, Finzsoft Solutions fell 28 percent to $4.61 after announcing it would pay an interim dividend of 14 cents per share, the first interim dividend it has paid in four years.