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New Zealand shares rise to record high in muted trading

New Zealand shares rise to record high in muted trading

New Zealand shares rose to a record in quiet trading as investors digested the latest round of index re-weightings and wait on upcoming earnings.

Kathmandu Holdings led the market higher. The S&P/NZX 50 index rose 41.85 points, or 0.4 percent, to 9515.12. Within the index, 25 stocks gained, 20 fell and five were unchanged.

Turnover was $96 million, with just two companies trading on volumes of more than a million shares.

Friday’s turnover was $407 million. “It’s just drifted up following where it’s been going for the last few days with no real driver,” said David Price, a broker at Forsyth Barr.

Local trading was muted with little corporate news today and as investors let last Friday’s re-weightings to the S&P/NZX and FSTE Russell indices bed in.

Some 104 million shares were traded on Friday, compared with 18.3 million today and the 28.9 million daily average for the past three months.

Kathmandu led the market higher, up 5.6 per cent at $2.46 on 86,000 shares, about half its average volume.

The retailer will report first-half earnings next Tuesday, having warned of sluggish sales in the Christmas and New Year period. Cornerstone shareholder Briscoe Group increased 0.3 percent to $3.35.

Managing director Rod Duke last week reiterated his interest in taking control of Kathmandu. Warehouse Group, which dropped out of the NZX50, will report first-half earnings tomorrow.

Price said investors will be watching for further signs that the retailer’s new strategy is improving margins.