MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares rise to record; Xero tops $1 bln
MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares rise to record; Xero tops $1 bln, Sky TV climbs
March 7 (BusinessDesk) – New Zealand shares rose, pushing the NZX 50 Index to the highest since it was created in 2003, as Xero’s market value exceeded $1 billion for the first time and a broad rally swept up Telecom, Sky Network Television and Diligent Board Members Services.
The NZX 50 rose 35.50 points, or 0.8 percent, to 4333.48. Within the index, 26 stocks rose, 16 fell and eight were unchanged. Turnover was $209 million, continuing the run of larger-than-normal days since News Corp sold its 44 percent stake in Sky TV.
Xero, the cloud-based accounting company, rose 5.5 percent to $8.59, valuing it at $1.01 billion. The shares have soared 155 percent in the past 12 months as investors have been willing to live with a lack of profit as it chases sales growth.
Diligent Board Member Services, another high-flying tech company, gained 4.6 percent to $5.65.
Contact Energy, the biggest power company on the NZX 50, gained 2.7 percent to $5.39 and Telecom, the largest phone company in the index, rose about 2 percent to $2.35. Sky TV rose 2.6 percent to $5.20, having recovered most of the ground since the News Corp sale at the start of the week at $4.80 apiece.
“There seems to be pretty solid new demand for equities both here and from offshore,” said James Lindsay, equities manager at Tyndall Investment Management. “Liquidity has been pretty strong across a number of names. The placement of Sky TV went exceptionally well.”
A2 Corp, which markets milk with variant protein said to have health benefits, rose 3.6 percent to 58 cents on news it will join the NZX 50 from March 18, replacing PGG Wrightson.
Wrightson, the nation’s biggest rural services company, was unchanged at 40 cents.
Briscoe Group, the homeware and sports goods retailer controlled by managing director Rod Duke, rose 4.4 percent to $2.40 after reporting that annual profit rose 11 percent to a record as sales gained more than costs, allowing the company to lift its dividend.
Restaurant Brands New Zealand fell 0.7 percent to $2.82. The fastfood company said today that fourth-quarter sales rose 4.5 percent as the inclusion of two Carl’s Jr stores made up for weaker revenue from Starbuck’s Coffee, which closed six outlets.
Turners Auctions tumbled 14 percent to $1.80 after it announced the loss of a contract to sell damaged vehicles for Insurance Australian Group, New Zealand's largest general insurer, eliminating a revenue line that generates more than 15 percent of profit.
Snakk Media tumbled 59 percent to 12 cents, continuing its wild ride since listing yesterday at 6.5 cents and soaring to 29 cents.
Fletcher Building, the biggest company on the NZX 50, rose 0.9 percent to $9.26.