2 mins to read

MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares rise in run-up to Christmas

The S&P/NZX 50 index advanced 25.13 points, or 0.4%, to 6877, extending its run of gains to six sessions

Paul McBeth
Fri, 23 Dec 2016

New Zealand shares rose in abbreviated trading ahead of the Christmas holiday, led by blue-chip stocks including Auckland International Airport and Spark New Zealand, while Tenon gained on the prospect of it selling its remaining assets.

The S&P/NZX 50 index advanced 25.13 points, or 0.4%, to 6877, extending its run of gains to six sessions. Within the index, 23 stocks rose, 16 declined, and 11 were unchanged. Turnover was $57.6 million, some $9.1 million of that on trading in A2 Milk shares, which fell, with light trading in the run-up to Christmas and the stock exchange settling at the earlier time of 1.30pm. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 index was largely flat in early trading, with both bourses shrugging off Wall Street's decline.

Auckland Airport led the NZX 50 higher, rising 2.3% to $6.66 while Spark gained 1.8% to $3.45. Port of Tauranga was up 1.6% to $3.79 and Meridian Energy increased 1.6% to $2.575. Heartland Bank also gained 2% to $1.50.

"Unsurprisingly, there's not a deal of news out there today," said Matt Goodson, managing director at Salt Funds Management in Auckland. "The markets don't close and we certainly intend to carry on. What tends to happen is that there's a lot less research written and a lot less company-specific news."

Warehouse Group posted the biggest decline on the benchmark index, falling 2.4% to $2.80 ahead of the final flurry of Christmas trading. Earlier this week the country's biggest listed retailer warned trading was weaker than expected in the run-up to the all-important Christmas trading period.

Among other stocks to fall, A2 Milk Co dropped 2.3% to $2.09 on turnover of $9.1 million, while Argosy Property slipped 1% to $1, and Vector declined 1% to $3.13.

Outside the benchmark index, Tenon said it's holding exclusive talks with a potential buyer of its New Zealand assets, which if successful would see the entity return surplus cash and liquidate what used to be Fletcher Challenge. The shares rose 4.6% to $2.30, and shares of Rubicon, which controls Tenon, gained 4.8% to 22 cents.

"If that does result in a transaction in the new year it would see Tenon wound up, bringing an end to an era," Mr Goodson said.

Fletcher Building, which was carved out of the Fletcher Challenge empire in 1996 and remains one of the biggest companies on the local bourse, slipped 0.2% to $10.75.

IkeGPS, which makes laser measurement tools, was unchanged at 39c after Harbour Asset Management said it sold its 7.4% stake at 31.2c apiece on market in trading yesterday.


Paul McBeth
Fri, 23 Dec 2016
© All content copyright NBR. Do not reproduce in any form without permission, even if you have a paid subscription.
MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares rise in run-up to Christmas