Markets

Australian shares rise in thin trade, NZ index hits record high

Reuters Sydney/Wellington | Updated on March 12, 2018 Published on December 29, 2014

Australian shares rose 1 per cent on Monday in thin holiday-time trading, led by gains in mining, energy and telecommunications, while New Zealand stocks rose to record highs.

Trading volume is likely to remain thin this week, with many investors away for New Year holidays. The market will be closed on Thursday.

At 01:17 GMT, the S&P/ASX 200 index was up 55.46 points to a seven-week peak of 5,450.

Iron ore miner Fortescue Metals Group jumped 3 per cent, while BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto both gained almost 2 per cent even though iron ore dropped to a five-year trough last week.

The “Big Four’’ banks — Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Westpac Banking Corp, ANZ Banking Group and National Australia Bank — all edged up around half-a-per cent.

Workforce provider Skilled Group leapt nearly 9 per cent to A$1.38 after it confirmed receiving an unsolicited proposal from Programmed Maintenance Services Ltd.

The real estate sector index lost around 0.5 per cent. Dexus Property Group was down 0.8 per cent to A$7.54 after announcing the acquisition of Lakes Business Park for A$153.5 million.

New Zealand stocks

Across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand’s benchmark NZX50 share index climbed to a record 5,622.22 in slow holiday trade. The index has gained 17 per cent this year, helped by a raft of domestic initial public offerings (IPOs) and increasing foreign interest.

Infratil initially edged up to a record NZ$3.05 after the infrastructure investor said it would team up with New Zealand’s superannuation fund to buy retirement village operator RetireAustralia in a A$640-million deal.

By 2339 GMT, it had eased to NZ$3.00.

Kathmandu fell 2.3 per cent to NZ$2.09 ($2), reversing slight gains in the previous session and approaching a near two-year low of NZ$2.05 touched last week.

Investors resumed selling the struggling outdoorwear retailer following its warning last week that seasonal sales at its Australian shops would be weak.

Further losses were offset by a 1.2 per cent rise in insurance provider Tower to NZ$2.18, while board member services provider Diligent rose 1.0 per cent to NZ$5.05.

Published on December 29, 2014
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