MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares gain on Fletcher’s Oz outlook
By Suze Metherell
Feb. 21 (BusinessDesk) – New Zealand stocks rose, paced by Fletcher Building whose first-half result yesterday showed potential for growth in Australia. The market responded positively to Vector’s earnings which showed growth in its technology sector.
The NZX 50 Index rose 17.813 points, or about 0.4 percent, to 4927.640. Within the index 31 stocks rose, 12 fell and seven were unchanged. Turnover was $151.4 million.
Fletcher’s shares rose 2.2 percent to $9.75. New Zealand’s biggest listed company reported half-year earnings yesterday which showed signs of growth in its Australian market, which makes up approximately half its business.
“For the overall movement of the index, the big mover today has been Fletcher Building,” said James Smalley a director at Hamilton Hindin Greene. “Investors are looking past current earnings, which might make the stock look a little bit on the expensive side, and are buying in anticipation of growth in their Australian business.
Vector gained 1.7 percent to $2.37. The Auckland electricity, gas and telecommunications network said net profit fell 11 percent in the six months ended Dec. 31. The lines provider has been through a number of regulated price adjustments affirmed its full-year guidance.
“The result wasn’t as bad as investors were fearing, given they had a number of regulated price cuts that were going to flow through to their earnings,” Smalley said. “Its technology unit which put in the smart meters and the like had a pretty good result.”
Telecom fell 1.7 percent to $2.375. The country’s biggest telecommunication provider today announced it will rebrand itself as Spark, and launch an internet television service to rival Sky Network Television. Its first-half earnings were flat. Sky TV slipped 2.4 percent to $5.75, and was the day’s worst performer.
“Telecom is the one weighing on the market today,” Smalley said. “There’s a little bit of disappointment with the bottom line and a little bit of uncertainty to do with this major rebrand they’re going to go through.”
OceanaGold rose 3.3 percent to $2.84. The Melbourne-based mining company reported a boost in gold production, but flat earnings as it wrote down its New Zealand mines.
NZX was unchanged at $1.27. The New Zealand’s stock operator reported a 22 percent lift in first-half earnings.
Nuplex Industries fell 1.5 percent to $3.3, extending yesterday’s decline after the speciality chemical makers earnings disappointed investors.
Auckland International Airport rose 0.3 percent to $3.70. Port of Tauranga lifted 1.5 percent to $14. Both companies reported growth in first-half earnings yesterday.
“It’s a reporting season where investors had quite low expectations, and although a number of companies haven’t exactly knocked the lights out, they’ve come out with ok results, and due to investors low expectations that’s why we’ve seen these stocks move up post their results,” Smalley said.
Michael Hill International climbed 7 percent to $1.38, leading gainers. Online auction site Trade Me Group rose 0.8 percent to $4.05. Outdoor clothing retailer Kathmandu rose 2.5 percent to $3.25. New Zealand’s biggest listed retailer Warehouse Group rose 0.3 percent to $3.39, and clothing chain Hallenstein Glasson Holdings fell 0.6 percent to $3.09.