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NZ's benchmark NZX 50 charts new record

16:13 AEST Fri Mar 8 2013
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New Zealand shares rose on Friday, extending the NZX 50 Index's gain to a new record, as investors piled into Diligent Board Members Services and rewarded Warehouse Group earnings growth and bigger dividend.

The NZX 50 rose 20.54 points, or 0.5 per cent, to 4354.02, the highest since the index it was created in 2003.

Within the index, 25 shares rose, 15 fell and 10 were unchanged. Turnover was $154 million.

"From all indications the market is a bit more expensive than normally but when you compare it to the bond market it does offer some value," said Paul Harrison, head of equities at BT Funds Management.

Diligent jumped 11 per cent to a record $6.35.

Mr Harrison said some people are buying the company "because they think it is going to be taken over by somebody else" following takeover activity in the US.

Xero, the cloud-based accounting company, climbed 5.9 per cent to $9.10 having seen its market value exceed $1 billion this week, even though it hasn't yet turned a profit.

Warehouse Group, the biggest retailer on the NZX 50, rose 8.3 per cent to $3.79 after posting first half profit that almost doubled on the sale of properties as part of leaseback arrangements.

It will pay a bigger interim dividend, 15.5 cents, than analysts had expected.

Infratil rose 1.1 per cent to $2.415 after saying that along with the New Zealand Superannuation Fund it would look to float between 40 per cent and 60 per cent of Z Energy on the NZX in the third quarter of this year.

Fletcher Building, the biggest company on the NZX 50, rose 0.4 per cent to $9.30.