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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares rise, led by Warehouse; Diligent falls on downgrade

03 Mar 15

New Zealand shares rose to a fresh record pushed higher by Warehouse Group after James Pascoe lifted its stake to become the second-biggest shareholder in the retailer. Diligent Board Member Services fell after an analyst's report downgraded the stock.

The NZX 50 Index edged up 0.988 points, or 0.02 percent, to 5893.661. Within the index, 19 stocks rose, 22 fell and nine were unchanged. Turnover was $171 million

Warehouse rose 3.7 percent to $2.82 paring a rise to as high as $2.90 after the retail group owned by David and Anne Norman lifted its holding in New Zealand's largest listed retailer to 16.4 percent, buying out Australian retailer Woolworths' stake for $87.1 million in an off market deal. James Pascoe, which owns Farmers, Whitcoulls, Pascoes, Stevens, Stewart Dawsons and Goldmark, said it doesn't intend making a takeover bid for New Zealand's largest listed retailer. Warehouse reports first-half earnings on Friday.

"It's a vote of confidence for the company with one of the major shareholders increasing their stake," Bryon Burke, head of equities at Craigs Investment Partners said. "The price has been at a bit of a low, lagging the market, and there was a few people taking a positive view and buying ahead of the announcement that Friday's result will be positive."

Diligent was the worst performer on the benchmark index falling 3.2 percent to $5.76. The stock has been cut to a 'neutral' rating from 'outperform' by First NZ Capital research analyst, James Schofield after the governance software developer announced plans to lift spending ahead of a new product launch.

"Regardless of how well the DiligentTeams does eventually, there will be a clear ramp-up of expenses, with no revenue flows from DiligentTeams," Schofield said in his report. "We believe this product will need material dedicated resource to convince potential clients of what is a dramatically different way of professional teams working and collaborating."

Goodman Property Trust fell 0.8 percent to $1.185. New Zealand's largest listed property investor by market value will spend $28 million on two new industrial plants and an office building at its Highbrook Business Park.

Metro Performance Glass, the glass manufacturer and retailer, rose 3.4 percent to $1.85. Air New Zealand, the national carrier, advanced 2.4 percent to $2.97. Auckland International Airport, the country's busiest gateway, gained 1.8 percent to $4.55.

Fletcher Building, the building supplies and construction firm, was unchanged at $8.63, as was Spark New Zealand, formerly Telecom Corp, at $3.29.

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