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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares rise, led by Diligent

MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares rise, led by Diligent on account restatement

By Suze Metherell

Feb. 28 (BusinessDesk) – New Zealand stocks rose, led by Diligent Board Member Services after the software maker restated its accounts giving investors more certainty in the growth stock.

The NZX 50 Index rose 25.702 points, or about 0.5 percent, to 4990.038. Within the index 30 stocks rose, 11 fell and nine were unchanged. Turnover was a larger than normal $225 million on the final day of the corporate earnings season.

Diligent, the governance software developer, rose 3.2 percent to $4.85, climbing as high as $5.05, after restating its financial statements over misrecognising revenue. The company had until today to restate the accounts to avoid having trading in its shares suspended by the stock market operator.

“It’s been a long time coming for financial figures from Diligent so it’s good to finally see them,” said Grant Williamson, a director at Hamilton Hindin Greene.

Telecom rose 1.4 percent to $2.50 pacing gains on the index with 22 percent, or $32 million, of the day’s turnover. The country’s biggest telecommunications company today finalised its sale of its Australian AAPT unit.

Fletcher Building fell 0.5 percent to $9.42, extending a four day sell off, on bigger-than-normal turnover of $87 million. New Zealand’s largest listed company counts Australia as its biggest market, and is under pressure from a high kiwi dollar and a weakening Australian economy.

“A lot of New Zealand companies are struggling to gain any traction in that Australian market at the moment,” Williamson said. “It’s still a very sluggish economy over there, and not just that their currency is weak compared to ours, so any translation of earnings back into kiwi dollars is obviously going to be down.”

Australian banks also fell. Westpac Banking Group fell 1.1 percent to $35.60 and Australia & New Zealand Banking Group declined 0.4 percent to $34.25.

Retirement village operator Metlifecare fell 0.2 percent to $4.14after reporting underlying profit growth in the first-half.

“Metlifecare is still in a transition period of adding care beds to their current rest homes and are still a year or so away until they really start to ramp up their pretty aggressive expansion,” said Williamson. “The underlying financial performance for the past six months was pretty in line with what was expected.”

Ryman Healthcare rose 2.6 percent to $7.90 and Summerset Group Holdings slipped 0.6 percent to $3.40.

Auckland International Airport rose 0.4 percent to $3.74. Cloud-based accounting software company Xero gained 0.02 percent to $40.15. Sky Network Television was up 0.8 percent to $6.12 and casino operator Sky City Entertainment Group climbed 1 percent to $3.93.

Outside the benchmark index, Cavalier Corp was unchanged at $1.70 after downgrading full-year guidance after a disappointing first-half. Mercer Group slipped 4.8 percent to 20 cents after the stainless steel fabricator said full-year profit will decline as it hires more staff.

Lyttelton Port Co sank 8.4 percent to $3.15 after the Christchurch ocean hub resumed paying dividend after its $438.3 million insurance settlement swelled its first-half profit.

Northland Port Corp, which owns half of Whangarei post operating company, was unchanged at $3.10 after reporting a 3.7 percent increase in first-half earnings which will flow onto annual gains.


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