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NZ shares up as budget, earnings dominate

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 25/05/2017

NZX signage  in Wellington.  (File photo) © Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images NZX signage in Wellington. (File photo) New Zealand shares edged higher on relatively small volumes on Thursday as investors were preoccupied with the government's budget and a slew of earnings.

These included Metro Performance Glass, which reported a boost in sales on its Australian expansion.

The S&P/NZSX 50 index rose 12.69 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 7,434.47. Within the index, 26 stocks gained, 15 fell and nine were unchanged. Turnover was a relatively quiet $106 million.

Finance Minister Steven Joyce on Thursday unveiled his maiden budget, with stronger economic and tax forecasts giving him room to return money to households through changes to tax thresholds, Working for Families and the accommodation supplement.

He also boosted infrastructure spending, a third of which will go into transport.

Investors were keeping tabs on the government announcement while also contending with company earnings from companies with September and March balance dates.

JBWere New Zealand equities manager Rickey Ward said this left trading relatively light and focused on stock-specific news.

Among those, MetroGlass gained 1.4 per cent after reporting a 30 per cent boost in sales from the acquisition of Australian Glass Group.

Profit dipped to $19.4 million due to costs associated with the acquisition but was in line with revised lower guidance that sent the share price lower in February.

Fishing group Sanford rose 1.7 per cent to $7.10 after reporting a 25 per cent increase in first-half profit, while utilities software developer Gentrack dropped 4.1 per cent to $4.65 after posting a 46 per cent increase in first-half profit.

Comvita led the benchmark index higher, rising 3.8 per cent to $5.45, having slumped near a two-year low.

Fletcher Building slipped 0.3 per cent to $7.89.

Tower slipped 0.9 per cent to $1.17, giving up some gain after reporting an increase in underlying earnings.

Orion Health Group slumped 9.9 per cent to $1, a new record low, ahead of next week's annual earnings.

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