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NZ shares start trading week on mixed note

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 21/11/2016 Sophie Boot

New Zealand shares were mixed with Metro Performance Glass falling while Kiwi Property Group and Evolve Education Group gained following their first-half earnings.

The S&P/NZX 50 Index fell 8.89 points, or 0.1 per cent, to 6,848.95. Within the index, 23 stocks rose, 22 fell and six were unchanged. Turnover was $154 million.

"We really are waiting for direction from offshore markets," said Rickey Ward, NZ equity manager at JBWere.

"We've got a market that's very bond-like, bond-sensitive, and that hasn't been a thematic of choice since the end of August."

Metro Performance Glass dropped 3.3 per cent to $2.08. The glass supplier lifted first-half profit 5 per cent to $11.5m as it benefited from a strong local construction market and booked a gain on an Australian acquisition.

The company said it had invested in extra capacity in Auckland where its market is growing and was making good progress at cutting processing costs. The 3.6 cent interim dividend was at the low end of guidance, which chair John Goulter said reflected both the company's opportunities and its increased gearing level after its foray across the Tasman.

Restaurant Brands NZ dropped 0.6 per cent to $5.06. The company successfully raised $94 million through a sale of shares to investors, helping fund its planned purchase of Pacific Island Restaurants, the largest fast-food operator in Hawaii with 82 Taco Bell and Pizza Hut stores.The shares resumed trading after being placed in a trading halt on Nov. 18.

Kathmandu Holdings was the best performer on the index, up 3.9 per cent to $1.86, while Ryman Healthcare rose 2.7 per cent to $8.82.

Kiwi Property Group gained 1.4 per cent to $1.455. The country's biggest listed property investor posted a 27 per cent gain in first-half profit to $45.6 million and affirmed its guidance for an uplift in its full-year dividend.

Vital Healthcare Property Trust was unchanged at $2.05.

Outside the benchmark index, Evolve Education Group gained 5 per cent to $1.05. The childcare centre operator lifted first-half profit 11 per cent to $12.5 million as it looks to increase its centre numbers over the next two years.

Hellaby Holdings dipped 0.3 per cent to $3.34.

Blis Technologies was unchanged at 4.6 cents. The probiotics manufacturer turned to a first-half profit of $428,000 allowing it to affirm guidance for its first annual profit since listing 15 years ago, as solid sales growth offset the impact of a strong kiwi dollar against the greenback and the euro.

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