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Market close: Shares edge higher as outlook improves

New Zealand shares rose again as Chinese manufacturing figures rose to a two-year high, adding to increasingly positive sentiment about global economic conditions in 2013.

The NZX 50 Index of leading stocks rose 2.19 points, or 0.52 percent, to 4189.914. Within the index, 22 stocks rose, 17 fell, and 11 were unchanged.

Leading the market higher was NZX, the stock exchange operator, which last week reported a 27 percent increase in the volume of trading in December 2012 over the same month a year earlier, and a near-record 25 percent rise in the leading index over the calendar year.

Equity analysts are predicting a surge back to equities this year as low global interest rates force investors back to riskier, higher yielding investments.

NZX shares rose 2.34 percent to $1.31, representing an increase in value over the last 12 months of 13.43 percent.

The second largest increase in percentage terms coming from PGG Wrightson, which continued its see-saw pattern to rise 2.33 percent to 44 cents.

Fonterra Shareholders Fund, which is sparking debate over whether its units are over-valued, put on 1.53 percent to $7.31.

Two leading fertiliser firms today voluntarily withdrew a commonly used nitrogen inhibitor, DCD, from the market after finding traces of the compound, which reduces greenhouse gas emissions of nitrous oxide found in cattle urine, in milk products.

Sky TV had a strong day, up 1.61 percent to $5.05, and infrastructure investor Infratil was up 1.28 percent to $2.37, an increase of almost 25 percent in the last year.

After pushing recent highs again yesterday, Fletcher Building came off 1.61 percent, or 15 cents, to $9.19, although the market's largest stock by capitalisation has still risen 47.93 percent in the last year.

Fellow construction sector supplier Steel & Tube, which had a strong run earlier in the week, was down 1.52 percent to $2.60.

(BusinessDesk)

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