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A2 Milk and Air NZ lead shares skyward

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 10/06/2016 Sophie Boot
Air New Zealand gained 2.3 per cent to $2.22. © AAP Air New Zealand gained 2.3 per cent to $2.22.

New Zealand shares rose, led by A2 Milk Co and Air New Zealand, which has sold most of its Virgin Australia stake at a better price than the market expected, while Sky TV lost some of Thursday's gains.

The S&P/NZX50 Index advanced 1.23 points, or 0.02 per cent, to 6,971.78. Within the index, 26 stocks rose, 17 fell and seven were unchanged. Turnover was $227.7 million.

A2 Milk Co led the index, gaining 4.1 per cent to $1.53. It will move onto the ASX 200 Index after the close of trading on June 17, having gained 171 per cent in the past twelve months.

"It puts them on the radar of a lot more institutional investors and exchange-traded funds," said James Smalley, director at Hamilton Hindin Greene.

"You probably would have expected a bit of a bounce - it has been under quite a bit of pressure recently and that has been in combination with other Chinese exporting related stocks like Blackmores."

Air New Zealand gained 2.3 per cent to $2.22. The national carrier sold a 19.98 per cent stake in Virgin Australia to Chinese company Nanshan Group, which owns Qingdao Airlines, and said it's considering options for its remaining 2.5 per cent holding (after dilution) in Australia's second-largest domestic airline.

The carrier said it will sell the stake in Virgin, Australia's second-largest domestic airline, at 33 Australian cents per share, a premium to Virgin's last traded price on the ASX of 28 Australian cents. It's also a premium to the 30 Australian cents paid in a share placement last week by fellow Chinese group HNA for a 13 per cent stake in Virgin.

Stride Property rose 1.8 per cent to $2.265. It will list its wholly-owned subsidiary Investore Property after an initial public offering, where it will raise as much as $185 million, as part of its strategy to retain its portfolio investment entity (PIE) tax status. The company sold shares at 97 cents in a $45 million capital raising when it listed in 2010.

Sky TV was the worst performer, down 3.4 per cent to $5.07. The pay TV operator jumped on Thursday after announcing a planned merger with Vodafone, and there had been some profit-taking on Friday, Smalley said.

Spark gained 1.2 per cent to $3.35.

Fletcher Building dropped 1.7 per cent to $8.49, Meridian Energy fell 1.7 per cent to $2.585, and Summerset Group dipped 1.5 per cent to $4.63.

Outside the main index, Teamtalk shed 10.5 per cent to 60 cents.

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