Market close: Shares up, led by NZX, Fletcher Building; FPA rises on Haier offer
BUSINESSDESK: New Zealand shares rose to a fresh 4½-year high, led by NZX and Fletcher Building in a region-wide rally after China's economic growth met estimates. Fisher & Paykel Appliances gained after Haier lifted its offer, winning control of the manufacturer.
The NZX 50 Index rose 36.76 points, or 0.92%, to 4001.94, the highest since January 6, 2008. Within the index, 34 stocks rose, 7 fell and 9 were unchanged. Turnover was about $111 million.
The gainers were led by NZX, the stock exchange regulator, up 5.1% to $1.23. Fletcher Building, now New Zealand's largest listed company, rose 3.3% to $7.59. Across Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 Index was up 1.9%.
Fisher & Paykel Appliances increased 2.4% to $1.26. Haier increased its bid by 8 cents to $1.28 a share. That won the approval of Accident Compensation Corp, AMP Capital Investors and Harbour Asset Management, giving the Chinese firm more than 50% of F&P and meeting its minimum acceptance condition.
The stock has soared 239% this year, mostly on the back of Haier's proposal.
"I don't think it came as too much of a surprise. Investors are saying it's a done deal," says Grant Williamson, director at Hamilton Hindin Greene. "Some investors will want to sell immediately – it will fuel further money back into the market – all in all that is good for the market on balance."
Contact Energy, New Zealand largest electricity generator, gained 1.9% to $5.41. Chairman Grant King yesterday hinted at the possibility of a capital return or higher dividends to shareholders as the electricity generator ends a five-year period of capital investment and looks to a future with large, uncommitted cash flows.
"Investors are slow on the uptake," Mr Williamson says. "Over time we will see further gains in the stock. They have a good platform with new assets that will improve the business over time."
Heartland New Zealand, the lender formed from the merger of Pyne Gould's Marac Finance with the Canterbury and Southern Cross building societies, rose 1.4% to 70 cents after its investment grade credit rating was affirmed, a prerequisite for a banking licence.
Vector, the Auckland gas, electricity and telecommunications networks, rose 1.6% to $2.88 following its annual general meeting in Auckland today. Sky City Entertainment climbed 1.8% to $3.95.
Goodman Fielder, the food ingredients manufacturer whose brands include Edmonds baking products and Vogel's bread, led decliners, falling 2.9% to 67 cents.
Mainfreight, the global logistics company, shed 1.6% to $10.73. Chorus, the telecommunications network which demerged from Telecom last year, fell 1.4% to $3.45.
Shares in Lyttelton Port Co, the South Island's biggest port operator, fell 4.5% to $2.10.
The Christchurch-based port says it will not be taking bookings for the majority of cruise vessels in the 2013-14 season after the region's earthquakes put plans for a new cruise berth on hold.