MARKET CLOSE: NZ stocks join global rally; Telecom, Fonterra rise
By Suze Metherell
April 3 (BusinessDesk) – New Zealand shares snapped a three day decline, joining a global rally on positive US US job data and factory orders. Telecom led the benchmark index higher as international investors sought exposure to the kiwi market, while units in Fonterra Shareholders’ Fund rose on lower input prices.
The NZX 50 Index rose 6.064 points, or 0.1 percent, to 5122.372. Within the index, 23 stocks rose, 20 fell and seven were unchanged. Turnover was $176.7 million.
Asian markets followed Wall Street higher after solid US economic data fuelled optimism over the recovery in the world’s biggest economy. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 was up 0.2 percent in afternoon trading. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index climbed 1.3 percent and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 0.4 percent.
“We’ve seen a bit of a rebound over the last several days from some of the offshore markets, the S&P 500 in the US last night had a new record high so most markets over the world have followed suit,” said Mark Lister, head of private wealth research at Craigs Investment Partners. “New Zealand has responded a little more modestly and I think that’s because we’ve had such a strong performance right through the year that we’re have held up better so there has been less of a bounce back.”
Telecom led the benchmark index higher, climbing 3.3 percent to $2.535. The telecommunications retailer has a gross dividend yield of 6.5 percent, something Lister said is attractive and popular with international investors as its relative liquidity gives them easy exposure to the New Zealand market.
Units in Fonterra Shareholders’ Fund rose 2.3 percent to $6.29 after global dairy product prices had the biggest drop in almost 20 months yesterday lowering input costs for Fonterra Cooperative Group. The units give investors access to Fonterra’s dividend stream.
“If there is a little bit of pressure on that dairy payout then their costs of production fall a little bit and the shares are responding,” Lister said.
A2 Corp, the milk marketing company, fell 1.1 percent to 88 cents. Outside the benchmark index, Synlait Milk rose 0.8 percent to $3.70.
Skellerup Holdings, the industrial rubber goods manufacturer which supplies the agricultural sector, fell 1.1 percent to $1.74.
“If you did see a bit of heat come out of the dairy sector and that payout potentially fall then all of those farmers out there would obviously be spending less money on their suppliers, of which Skellerup is one,” Lister said.
Xero extended its decline, falling 2.1 percent to $37.20. The cloud-based accounting software firm has dropped 9.3 percent this week as brokers have reduced their growth forecast for the company and international tech stocks have come under pressure, Lister said.
“There have been a couple of brokers that have reduced their growth forecasts for Xero,” Lister said. “It’s just another one of those market darlings that had a very strong share price and hasn’t necessarily got the underlying profit to justify it in a lot of ways, and I think you’re just seeing a bit of weakness in the global technology space.”
Auckland International Airport rose 0.4 percent to $3.88. New Zealand’s busiest gateway raised $150 million in a wholesale bond issue and is mulling a retail offer to help fund its capital return to shareholders.
Fletcher Building, New Zealand’s biggest listed company, climbed 0.6 percent to $9.52 and Air New Zealand advanced 1.5 percent to $2.03.
Z Energy fell 1.3 percent to $3.89 after the transport fuel supplier said it’s targeting an increase of up to $50 million in annual operating earnings by 2018.