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Shares up as earning season reports begins

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 15/08/2016 Sophie Boot

© Getty Images New Zealand shares gained as early earnings reports skewed positive, with Steel & Tube Holdings and Summerset Group gaining on their results.

The S&P/NZX50 Index rose 25.25 points, or 0.3 per cent, to 7,388.35. Within the index, 31 shares rose, 17 fell and three were unchanged. Turnover was $109 million.

Steel & Tube Holdings led the index, up 10.5 per cent to $2.42, a 10-month high. First NZ Capital analysts raised their rating on the stock following the steel products maker posting better-than-expected annual earnings and lifting its dividend payment on Friday.

The Lower Hutt-based company reported an underlying profit of $19.4m in the year ended June 30 on record sales of $516m as the contribution from new acquisitions and cost savings helped offset weaker prices and margins as well as costs related to "quality issues".

"To be honest I'm a little surprised it's as strong as it is - the market had time to react on Friday, and it did, I guess the market's had time to digest some of the aspects of the result and it's got a little more optimistic," Mark Lister, head of private wealth research at Craigs Investment Partners.

Summerset Group gained 4.8 per cent to $5.20, an all-time high. The retirement village operator and developer lifted first-half earnings 44 per cent to $24.7 million in the six months ended June 30, beating expectations, and will pay a larger dividend than anticipated after enjoying a record second quarter of unit sales.

New Zealand Refining Co gained 4.1 per cent to $2.52, Ebos Group rose 2.7 per cent to $17.67, and Warehouse Group advanced 1.8 per cent to $2.85.

Contact Energy rose 0.2 per cent to $5.27. The electricity and gas provider posted little-changed full-year operating earnings amid signs that electricity demand is starting to grow after a long period of decline and that its investment in technology to gain and retain customers is starting to show returns.

Kathmandu Holdings was the worst performer, down 2 per cent to $1.93.

Genesis Energy dropped 1.8 per cent to $2.22 and Meridian Energy fell 1.2 per cent to $2.865.

Freightways dipped 1.2 per cent to $6.66.

Outside the main index, Pushpay Holdings advanced 5 per cent to $2.52.

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