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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares rise in pre-Xmas trading; Kathmandu snaps declines; POT at record

New Zealand shares rose in light pre-Christmas, abbreviated trading. Kathmandu Holdings gained, snapping three days of declines. Port of Tauranga climbed to a record close. Sky City Entertainment Group fell after announcing cost overruns in its convention centre.

The NZX 50 Index rose 5.32 points, or 0.1 percent, to 5557.417. Within the index, 21 stocks rose, 14 fell and 15 were unchanged. Turnover was $39.1 million. In November the daily average turnover was $162 million, according to NZX monthly shareholder metrics. The market is closed for the public holidays and will reopen on Monday.

"It's extremely light trading and what we are seeing is a number of institutional investors have already closed up shop for the year so they're not involved in the market," said Grant Williamson, director at Hamilton Hindin Greene. "The market has drifted throughout the morning."

Kathmandu rose 1.9 percent to $2.14. Earlier this week the outdoor equipment retailer dropped to a two-year low after flagging a slowdown in sales growth after a subdued start to Christmas shopping in its Australian market.

"Kathmandu, which has had a terrible week, has rebounded a little off some profit taking today," Williamson said. "The Australian retail environment is very difficult for that company at the moment."

Port of Tauranga rose 0.5 percent to a record close of $17.19. New Zealand's busiest port is expanding throughout the country, including an inland port in Christchurch.

"Investors view this company as extremely well-managed and its expansion into other areas in New Zealand, including Christchurch, is showing how progressive this company is," Williamson said.

Sky City fell 0.5 percent to $3.78. The casino operator's budget for its Auckland convention centre has blown out by $130 million dollars to $530 million, while the Auckland Council is pushing back against government suggestion ratepayer help fund the build.

"There is a little bit of selling in Sky City," Williamson said. "Not such good news there this week on the budget overruns for its Auckland convention centre, which is maybe causing one or two investors to exit that stock."

Fletcher Building, the building supplies and construction company, rose 0.7 percent to $8.34. Spark New Zealand, formerly Telecom Corp, declined 0.3 percent to $3.10.

Pacifc Edge, the Dunedin-based biotech company, led the benchmark index higher climbing 3.7 percent to 85 cents.

Ebos Group was the worst performer on the benchmark index, slipping 1.5 percent to $9.80.

Outside the benchmark index, Sealegs Corp dropped 4 percent to 12 cents after the amphibious vehicle maker was fined $8,000 and publicly censured by the New Zealand Markets Disciplinary Tribunal after failing to maintain the minimum number of independent directors on its board.

Augusta Capital was unchanged at 98 cents. The property investor and fund manager has bought the Southgate Centre retail site in Auckland's Takanini for $58.5 million, which it plans to put on the market for syndication.