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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares rise, bolstered by F&P Healthcare

Rebecca Howard
Wed, 17 May 2017

New Zealand shares rose, boosted by news that health appliance firm ResMed dropped a complaint against Fisher & Paykel Healthcare at the US International Trade Commission and offsetting largely tepid trading as weak international leads sidelined many investors and a slide in dual-listed Australia & New Zealand Banking Group and Westpac Banking Group weighed on the bourse.

The S&P/NZX 50 index increased 15 points or 0.2 percent to 7,422.50. Within the index, 15 stocks rose, seven were unchanged and 28 fell. Turnover was $151.9 million.

Fisher & Paykel Healthcare added 1.7 percent to $10.18 helping the market outperform much of Asia, where concerns about US President Donald Trump's administration hurt investor sentiment. Japan's Topix fell 0.6 percent in afternoon trading, while South Korea's Kospi slipped 0.4 percent and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 down 0.9 percent. Markets were jittery after reports Trump asked then-FBI Director James Comey to end a probe into the White House's former national security adviser, and raised questions over whether obstruction of justice charges could be laid against Trump.

"We are in positive territory and that is due to Fisher & Paykel Healthcare. It was up 39 cents at one stage which obviously was a great boost to the market as whole," said Bryon Burke, head of equities at Craigs Investment Partners. "It was really Fisher & Paykel Healthcare that boosted turnover."

The stock touched a high of $10.49, before paring gains, with the notice saying ResMed plans to replace the complaint with a new action and is still pursuing its patent dispute with the New Zealand maker of breathing masks in several other jurisdictions.

Heartland Bank shares rose 1.7 percent to $1.77 after the New Zealand-owned lender said profit rose 13 percent in the first nine months of its year on an expanding loan book and affirmed guidance for annual earnings growth. The stock also continued to benefit as its larger Australian revivals - which dominate the mortgage market, remain out of favour due to increasing regulatory costs after the Australian federal government announced a deposit levy across the Tasman. Australia & New Zealand Banking Group fell 0.3 percent to $31.51 while Westpac Banking Group declined 1.5 percent to $34.80.

Burke said there were more losers than gainers on the market but volumes were light: "The market is drifting to a large extent. It's very order flow driven. The main stories today are Fisher & Paykel Healthcare and the Aussie banks."

Sky Network Television posted the biggest fall, down 3 percent to $3.55. Burke said it reflected the quiet market as it didn't trade until afternoon and overall there were only a handful of trades.

A2 Milk led the index higher, adding 2.3 percent to $3.56 as bargain hunters moved in after some recent profit-taking. Units in Fonterra Shareholders' Fund ended flat at $6 after a better-than-expected overnight Global Dairy Trade auction.

Kathmandu shed 1 percent to $1.95 while Metilifecare fell 1.2 percent to $5.68. Xero came in for some profit-taking after a strong rise this week on expectations it will soon be in the black, shedding 0.8 percent to $23.85.

Looking ahead, investors will be watching for earnings reports tomorrow from companies like Goodman Property Trust, which was trading up 0.4 percent at $1.24 and Infratil, up 0.3 percent at $2.99 as Ryman Healthcare, which added 0.8 percent to $8.75 and is due to report Friday.

(BusinessDesk)

Rebecca Howard
Wed, 17 May 2017
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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares rise, bolstered by F&P Healthcare
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