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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares rise; Ryman, Summerset, Metlifecare up as investors bargain hunt

New Zealand shares rose, paced by Ryman Healthcare, Summerset Group Holdings and Metlifecare, as investors returned to stocks which have come under selling pressure recently. Green Cross Health climbed to the highest in almost 10 years after announcing a further health services acquisition.

The NZX 50 Index rose 6.232 points, or 0.1 percent, to 5409.229. Within the index, 22 stocks rose, 19 fell and nine were unchanged. Turnover was $88 million.

Retirement villages rose as investors looked for value in the benchmark index, which has climbed some 16 percent since the start of the year. Ryman Healthcare, which has fallen 1.9 percent since the year began, advanced 1.3 percent to $7.80. Summerset, which has dropped 16 percent since the start of the year, climbed 1.1 percent to $2.77. Metlifecare, which has underperformed the NZX 50 to rise 10 percent since the year began, rose 0.5 percent to $4.39.

"They had shown weakness for a while now but I think a few investors are thinking the sell down has been a bit overdone," Grant Williamson, director at Hamilton Hindin Greene said. "Investors are finding it more and more difficult to find value on the market, so although I'm not expecting any large corrections I do think we might start to see a little bit of more profit taking come into the market, which may just limit the upside in the short-term."

Spark New Zealand, formerly Telecom Corp, fell from a seven year high, declining 0.2 percent to $3.265. Z Energy, the petrol pump chain, fell 1.4 percent from a record close on Friday, to $4.33.

Outside the benchmark index, Green Cross Health surged 13 percent to $2.20, a near decade high for stock after it agreed to pay around $18 million for Access Homehealth, a not-for-profit home healthcare services company owned by a grass-roots charitable organisation, Rural Women New Zealand. The company, formerly Pharmacybrands, is shifting away from its traditional chemist retail brand to acquire healthcare services.

"It is a sector that a lot of investors would like to go into, healthcare is viewed as defensive and yet still offering good growth opportunities," Williamson said.

Restaurant Brands, the fast-food chain operator, rose 0.8 percent to $3.69. Quarterly retail sales data released today showed food-related industries led the 1.5 percent gain the New Zealand retail sector booked in sales in the third quarter, with food and beverage services sales up 3 percent.

Fletcher Building, New Zealand's largest listed company, rose 0.1 percent to $8.47.

Oceana Gold Corp led the benchmark index higher, climbing 7.1 percent to $2.42.

Auckland International Airport rose 1.8 percent to $4.06. Steel & Tube Holdings increased 1 percent to $3. Sky Network Television advanced 0.5 percent to $6.46. Xero rose 0.3 percent to $17.15.

Pacific Edge was the worst performer on the benchmark index today, declining 3.7 percent to 79 cents.

Wynyard Group rose 0.4 percent to $2.09. The security software company spun out of Jade Software last year has hired Andrew France, former deputy director of cyber defence operations at British intelligence agency GCHQ, for the role of strategic adviser for intelligence.