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NZ stocks take 'a bit of a breather'

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 14/07/2016 Sophie Boot

New Zealand shares have edged up on smaller than normal volumes as investors took a "breather", with A2 Milk Co, Air New Zealand and Steel & Tube Holdings gaining.

The S&P/NZX 50 Index rose 16 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 7080.32, a record high on Thursday.

Within the index, 27 stocks gained, 18 fell and six were unchanged. Turnover was $120.3 million.

Local investors have taken "a bit of a breather" with no offshore news to push the market around and school holidays thinning out some trading desks, says Anthony Halls, portfolio manager at Mint Asset Management.

A2 Milk was the biggest gainer, up 5.3 per cent to $1.98, a four-month high.

Mr Halls said A2 had gotten a bit of support in New Zealand as the kiwi dollar dropped, helping the translation from Australian dollars to New Zealand dollars, but volumes were very light.

Air New Zealand rose 2.5 per cent to $2.23, Steel & Tube Holdings advanced 2.1 per cent to $1.94, and New Zealand Refining Co gained 2 per cent to $2.56.

Xero was the worst performer, down 1.5 per cent to $17.72.

Orion Health Group fell 1.4 per cent to $4.86 and Comvita dropped 1.4 per cent to $11.60.

The dual-listed Australian banks gained despite a warning from credit ratings agency Moody's Investors Service that they face increased challenges in 2016, which predicted a moderate weakening in asset quality and a slowdown in earnings growth.

ANZ Banking Group gained 1.7 per cent to $26.14 and Westpac rose 1.1 per cent to $31.35.

Goodman Property Trust gained 1.5 per cent to $1.32. New Zealand's second-biggest listed property investor will sell three of its Auckland offices for $206 million to reduce debt.

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