Market close: NZ shares stagnate – ANZ, Westpac rise on EU aid
BUSINESSDESK: New Zealand shares fell, trimming the NZX 50 Index’s gain in the second quarter to 3.1%, as investors were yet again looking to Europe for signs of progress in tackling its debt crisis.
Australian lenders Westpac and Australia and New Zealand Banking Group rose.
The NZX 50 fell 1.5 points, or 0.04%, to 3399.83. Within the index, 24 stocks rose, 18 fell and eight were unchanged. Turnover was $147 million.
Fletcher Building, which was hurt this week by Australian rival Boral’s earnings downgrade, ended the day down 1% to $5.87 and Telecom, the biggest company on the exchange, fell 0.4% to $2.39.
That was enough to push the benchmark index into the red on a day many equity benchmarks across Asia advanced on late news that European leaders would provide aid for the region’s banks.
ANZ Bank rose 1.9% to $28 on the NZX and Westpac gained 1.3% to $27.05.
“Everyone is waiting until there is a bit more clarity to the Europe situation,” said Rob Garden, an investment adviser at Craigs Investment Partners. “Any news that helps stabilise things for the short term means the risk trades go back on.”
The market, though, is “characterised by low volumes and continued uncertainty out of Europe”.
Telecom fell after announcing today that Fitch's rating will no longer be part of its ratings lineup.
The teleco will continue to engage with ratings agencies Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s Investors Service for ratings and analytical coverage, it said in a statement.
NZX, the stock exchange operator, fell 0.7% to $1.35.
The Financial Markets Authority today release its assessment of how NZX is meeting its obligations as market operator which showed a qualified tick. NZX is making changes to address some of the issues cited by the regulator.
Shares in SmartPay, the eftpos terminal company fell 4% to 12 cents after shareholders yesterday voted in favour of a capital raising programme that will see it list on the Australian Stock Exchange.
Shareholders were offered 11.5 cents apiece under a capital raising plan which will see the company list on the ASX by the end of the year. It will remain listed in the NZX.
Shares in Colonial Motor Co, which owns Ford Motor and Mazda dealerships, was unchanged at $3.15 after it said the second half didn’t pan out quite as badly had it had feared when it posted a 64% surge in first-half earnings in February.
Foley Family Wines, owned by the California-based billionaire Bill Foley, is to take control of New Zealand Wine Company, whose brands include Vavasour, Goldwater, Clifford Bay and Dashwood.
The merger will see Foley take an 80% stake in NZ Wines Co. It is subject to shareholder approval and consent from the Overseas Investment Office
NZ Wines shares are listed on the NZX alternative market and last traded at 85 cents.