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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares rise, led by Pacific Edge

New Zealand shares rose, led by Pacific Edge after a report about its medical testing products was published in a prominent medical journal. Genesis Energy and MightyRiverPower fell as investors looked to book recent gains.

The NZX 50 Index rose 0.186 points, or 0.003 percent, to 5847.356. Within the index stocks were mixed as 17 rose, 22 fell and 11 were unchanged. Turnover was $94.6 million.

Pacific Edge led the benchmark index higher, up 2.7 percent to 76 cents. A research paper on its non-invasive bladder cancer test, Cxbladder Triage, has been published in the internationally leading medical journal BioMed Central Urology.

"An international research journal has published a paper on one of the company's products so that is always seen as adding credibility to what they do," Mark Lister, head of private wealth research said. "It's positive media coverage in the right place and the share price reaction today is in response to that."

Fletcher Building, the building supplies and construction firm, rose 0.1 percent to $8.25. Spark New Zealand, formerly Telecom Corp, gained 1.2 percent to $2.975.

Utility companies fell as investors looked to pocket after recent gains. Genesis fell 1.5 percent to $2.245. MRP declined 1.7 percent to $2.98.

"They've all had a very good run so it's not surprising to see a bit of the heat come out of them," Lister said.

Meridian Energy snapped eight days of decline to be unchanged at $1.85. The partially privatised energy company listed on the bourse in October 2013, with the shares offered in installment receipts to sweeten the offer, with $1 upfront and the promise of full entitlement to dividends, and the remaining 50 cents due next month.

"Investors will very shortly need to front up with another 50 cents per share," Lister said. "Some people just don't want to front up with that cash so they just sell and move on, or maybe they sell a few shares to free up some funds to use for that."

Units of the Fonterra Shareholders' Fund, which are entitled to the dividends from the ordinary shares of Fonterra Cooperative Group, declined 1.3 percent to 5.38, well below its 2012 offer price of $5.50. Last month, the dairy company posted a 16 percent drop in first-half profit to $183 million in the six months to Jan. 31, which it said reflected tough conditions in dairy while also trimming its guidance for dividends to a range of 20 cents to 30 cents, from a previous 25 cents to 35 cents.

"It's lingering disappointment with that result," Lister said. "Rights to its dividend expired a couple of days ago, so there could be investors who thought they'd hang on to collect the dividend, but were a little underwhelmed by how that result look and are happy to exit."

Outside the benchmark index, Turners Limited rose 3.2 percent to 32.5 cents. The listed finance lender taken over by Dorchester Pacific last year has acquired the first of a number of small insurance companies as it looks to triple the size of its insurance business over the next two years.