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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares rise, led by Arvida

Trading was fairly tepid as investors "are waiting for the next move" from offshore for direction.

Rebecca Howard
Wed, 24 May 2017

Arvida Group led the New Zealand share market higher as investors were cheered by positive earnings reports and - like much of Asia - shrugged off news Moody's Investors Service cut its sovereign credit rating on China.

The S&P/NZX 50 Index rose 37 points, or 0.5 percent, to 7,421.78. Within the index, 26 stocks rose, six were unchanged and 18 fell. Turnover was $135 million. Elsewhere in Asia, Japan's Topix was up 0.5 percent while across the Tasman the S&P/ASX 200 was up 0.1 percent despite the news from Moody's. In China, however, the CSI 300 was down 0.5 percent.

Bryon Burke, head of equities at Craigs Investment Partners, said the New Zealand market was in positive territory and was largely "order flow driven", in that investors were interested in specific stocks in the wake of the results. Trading was fairly tepid as investors "are waiting for the next move" from offshore for direction, Burke said, noting that volumes remain below average.

Arvida Group, the retirement village company that listed in 2014, added 3.8 percent to $1.36 after it posted a net profit of $53.7 million in the 12 months ended March 31, up from $24 million a year earlier. The positive sentiment helped bolster other retirement village operators with Ryman Healthcare adding 1.3 percent to $8.56 and Metlifecare adding 0.2 percent to $5.59. Summerset Group bucked the trend, shedding 0.4 percent to $4.91.

Restaurant Brands New Zealand added 1.8 percent to $5.72. Unite Union said today it was making headway in its talks with the fast food operator. Last month Unite members took industrial action after talks broke down with Restaurant Brands, picketing KFC stores in Auckland, Rotorua, Palmerston North, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin during a Saturday lunch time. The parties are at odds over pay and conditions and Unite national secretary Gerard Hehir says they've made some progress after meeting several times over the last couple of weeks.

Contact Energy added 2.2 percent to $5.16. First NZ Capital this week said low inflows of water into the South Island's hydro-electricity storage lakes are expected to knock its earnings in the second half of the current financial year but should boost prices for electricity to residential, commercial and industrial users next year.

Tower narrowed its first-half loss as its underlying earnings improved, offsetting yet another unexpected increase in the cost of the Canterbury earthquakes six years ago and the stock added 4.9 percent to $1.18.

The Fonterra Shareholders Fund shed 0.5 percent to $6.10. Fonterra Cooperative Group lifted its forecast farmgate payout for this season, and raised its expectations for next season, as the world's largest exporter of dairy products benefits from rising prices.

Medical services provider Green Cross Health was unchanged at $2.30 after it reported a 15 percent gain in net profit to $19.6 million.

Air New Zealand added 0.4 percent to $2.87 after news its passenger numbers rose in April as tourists continue to flood into the country, bolstered by the timing of the Easter holiday.

In the other direction, Fletcher Building remained out of favour, shedding 2.4 percent to $7.91, marking the biggest decline on the benchmark index. Precinct Properties New Zealand fell 1.2 percent to $1.19 and Vector shed 1.2 percent to $3.23.

Pacific Edge fell 5.3 percent to 54 cents after it widened its annual loss as the cancer diagnostic company's focus on expanding its US footprint drove a 62 percent boost in sales.

Looking ahead, Burke said investors will be keeping one eye on New Zealand's budget tomorrow for any possible news.


Rebecca Howard
Wed, 24 May 2017
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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares rise, led by Arvida