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MARKET CLOSE: NZX 50 rises to record, led by A2 Milk; Genesis, Meridian gain

New Zealand shares rose to a record, led by A2 Milk Co as it flagged a dual-listing on the ASX. DNZ Property Fund, Genesis Energy and Meridian Energy paced the gains, as investors looked for yield in a fully priced market.

The NZX 50 Index rose 14.799 points, or 0.3 percent, to 5505.028, eclipsing the 5,500 mark for the first time. Within the index 23 shares rose, 23 fell and four were unchanged. Turnover was $86.3 million.

A2 Milk climbed 8.3 percent to 65 cents, paring an earlier rise to 69 cents. The milk marketer announced plans for a dual-listing on the ASX, where it earns 96 percent of its revenue and said sales had grown 38 percent in the past four months compared to the same period a year earlier. At its annual meeting in Auckland it told shareholders growth in its UK and China business were gaining momentum and it flagged an entry in the US market.

"The new market is obviously a positive for them," said Robert Garden, investment advisor at Craigs Investment Partners. "The dual listing and having them on the ASX is a good thing. A2 as a milk brand has a better profile in Australia than it does here. It's where a lot of their sales are coming from so it makes sense."

The benchmark index has advanced some 16 percent since the start of the year, supported in large part by investors hunt for income paying equities in an environment where interest rates are historically low. Energy companies and property investors have been the main beneficiaries of the yield appetite. Genesis rose 0.9 percent to $2.18. Meridian advanced 0.6 percent to $1.715. Contact Energy gained 0.3 percent to $6.24. DNZ Property climbed 1.9 percent to $1.845. Vital Healthcare Property Trust increased 0.7 percent to $1.51.

"It's a fair enough argument to say our market is looking fully priced," Garden said. "A lot of that is being driven by the hunt for income given the low interest rate environment we're in at the moment. As long as that interest rate differential, between that and the dividend yield remains, I think our markets probably going to hold up, barring any large external shocks that may come through."

Off the market, Arvida, the retirement village operator planning to raise $80 million in an initial public offering, has told would be investors its high proportion of care beds provides steady cash flows that will enable it to pay investors a healthy quarterly dividend and help fund new developments after listing. Rival listed retirement village operators, which have underperformed the NZX 50's gains this year, were mixed. Ryman Healthcare advanced 1.4 percent to $7.91. Metlifecare gained 0.5 percent to $4.41. Summerset Group Holdings fell 0.7 percent to $2.75.

Fletcher Building fell 0.2 percent to $8.45. New Zealand's largest listed company has appointed Ernst & Young as its auditor, ending a 13-year relationship with KPMG.

Spark New Zealand, formerly Telecom Corp, rose 0.3 percent to $3.275.

Kathmandu Holdings was the worst performer on the day, falling 2.3 percent to $2.99.

Outside the benchmark index, IkeGPS climbed 11 percent to $1 after the remote measuring device developer signed a manufacturing and distribution deal with Stanley Black & Decker which will help it meet its prospectus sales forecast.