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NZ shares rise in light volume trade

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 26/06/2017 Rebecca Howard

New Zealand shares rose on Monday, led by Z Energy and Spark New Zealand in relatively light trading.

Sky Network Television fell after the pay-TV operator and Vodafone terminated their merger agreement, although it did pare some of its losses over the session as more detail came to light.

The S&P/NZX 50 Index rose 42 points or 0.6 per cent to 7595.50. Within the index, 30 stocks rose, 12 fell and eight were unchanged. Turnover was $110 million.

"It's firm, but on very light volume. The start of the week looked like it was going to be relatively quiet, but there has been a little bit of interest" with some corporate activity, said David Price, director of institutional equities at Forsyth Barr.

Sky and Vodafone withdrew their appeal against the Commerce Commission's rejection of their $3.44 billion media merger, which Mr Price said sparked some activity on the market.

Sky initially fell 5 per cent but after chief executive John Fellet came out and said the decision to drop the appeal was a mutual one, it pared some of its losses and ended down 2.1 per cent at $3.32, the biggest drag on the index.

Similarly, news that Suncorp Group's Vero Insurance unit had sweetened a takeover offer for Tower also garnered interest, Mr Price said.

Vero is offering $1.40 a share to take over Tower, valuing it at $236.1 million, up from an earlier price of $1.30 a share, or $219.3m.

Tower shares are in a trading halt as the general insurer's board goes through the detail of the increased bid.

Mr Price noted volumes remain tepid. "There hasn't been the earnings support to drive it forward so people are finding it hard to find value," he said.

Z Energy led the market higher, adding 2.4 per cent to $7.65 while Spark - which opposed the Sky merger - added 2.3 per cent to $3.84.

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