Member log in

Market close: Shares mixed as Fletcher, Diligent rise, Telecom falls

New Zealand shares were mixed, with Fletcher Building pacing gainers after giving an upbeat earnings outlook yesterday, while Telecom and Sky Network Television fell.

The NZX 50 Index fell 1.71 points, or 0.04%, to 3971.23. Within the index, 19 stocks gained, 22 fell and nine were unchanged. Turnover was a higher-than-average $145 million.

Fletcher, the biggest company on the NZX, rose 1.1% to a 13-month high close of $7.73, adding to yesterday's 3.7% gain when it said operating earnings will grow by as much as 22% in the 2013 financial year as new home construction accelerates and the firm keeps a lid on costs.

"We're definitely seeing some pretty keen interest" in Fletcher since its announcement yesterday, says Grant Williamson, a director at Christchurch-based brokerage Hamilton Hindin Greene. The market generally has been buoyed by an inflow of funds from retail investors fed up with lowly returns from deposits.

Diligent Board Member Services climbed 2.7% to a record close of $4.60. The stock has surged since its announcement last week that revenue soared 145% in the three months to September 30 and margins widened as the company's corporate governance product begins to gain scale in key markets.

"It is still a very good growth story," Mr Williamson says, and media reports the company is mulling a Nasdaq listing also bode well for the shares since US tech companies tend to trade on higher multiples than Diligent.

Xero, the cloud-based accounting service, rose 4.1% to $6.35, a cent below the record reached last week.

Summerset Group gained 3.6% to $2.04 after the retirement village operator said it has lifted its long-term annual build rate for new retirement units and agreed to an increase in its bank facilities to help fund the expansion.

The Wellington-based company is now aiming to build 300 units a year by 2015 compared to a target in the prospectus for its initial public offering last year of 250 units a year by 2016.

Comvita, which sells products based on the health and medical benefits of honey, rose about 3% to $3.81. While first-half profit fell 7.4% in the face of a shortage of Manuka honey, the profit drop mainly reflected restated year-earlier figures.

Sales climbed to $45.4 million from $41.8 million and chairman Neil Craig says it expects a repeat of the pattern of stronger second-half trading.

Sky TV, the pay-TV company, fell 1.8% to $4.98. Clothing retailer Hallenstein Glasson Holdings slid 2.3% to $5.15.

(BusinessDesk)