Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search


MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares slip from record led by Spark

MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares slip from record led by Spark; Air NZ extends gain

By Suze Metherell

Aug. 28 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand shares fell from a record, led by Spark New Zealand, as investors locked in gains ahead of next month's general election, which is creating some uncertainty in markets. Air New Zealand rose for a second day after posting a 45 percent gain in annual profit.

The NZX 50 Index fell 6.186 points, or 0.1 percent, to 5237.514. Within the index, 16 stocks fell, 26 gained, eight were unchanged. Turnover was $93.9 million.

The benchmark index slipped from its high as investors looked past earnings season to the general election next month. An NZ Herald-DigiPoll survey today showed the incumbent National Party is likely to return for a third term in government, though recent polls have shown declining support for the administration.

"Investors are looking to book profit," said James Smalley, director at Hamilton Hindin Greene. "Once we get through reporting season, the next big thing will be the election on September 20. Obviously there is a bit of water to go under the bridge there, and that could create quit a bit of uncertainty, and markets don't like uncertainty."

Stocks that have gained in recent days paced the decline on the benchmark, with Spark, formerly Telecom Corp, falling 3.1 percent to $2.945 from a six-year high. Ryman Healthcare, the retirement village operator, dropped 2.2 percent to $8.00, having advanced 2 percent over the past week. Tower, the general insurer, declined 1 percent to $1.98, after rising above the "psychological barrier price" of $2.00 yesterday.

Air NZ advanced 1.8 percent to a two-month high $2.215, extending yesterday's gain after the national carrier lifted annual profit for third consecutive year to $262 million. Meanwhile, trans-Tasman rival Qantas Airways booked a A$2.84 billion loss as it wrote down the value of its international fleet and faced restructuring and redundancy costs. The numbers also showed its kiwi discount airline, Jetstar Airways, had lost market share in New Zealand. While Air NZ enjoys a virtual monopoly on many domestic routes, Qantas faces stiff competition from discount airlines such as Virgin Australia, which Air NZ has a 20 percent stake, and Tiger Airways.

"The contrasting performance of the two airlines really shows you the difference," Smalley said. "One has very strong market dominance and a monopolistic way in its domestic market, versus Qantas which has very very strong competition both on its international routes, and also on its domestic routes."

A2 Milk Co was unchanged at 65 cents. The company which markets milk with a protein variant said to have health benefits said annual profit tumbled to $10,000 from $4.1 million a year earlier. It plans to ramp up its expansion in the US, the UK and Asia using cash generated in its biggest market of Australia after a year in which a strong kiwi slashed the value of sales.

NZX was unchanged at $1.23. The stock market operator revealed its new market with lighter disclosure requirements will be called NXT, as it waits on the final go-ahead from the Financial Markets Authority.

Fletcher Building, New Zealand's largest listed company, advanced 0.7 percent to $9.29.

Pacific Edge was the best performer on the day rising 2.5 percent to a two-month high of 82 cents, after the Dunedin-based biotech company said Kaiser Permanete, which has more than nine million healthcare users in the US, would trial its non-invasive bladder cancer detecting test, Cxbladder. That added to its 8.1 percent gain yesterday.

Outside the benchmark index, Airwork Holdings rose 3.8 percent to $2.75 after the aviation services firm, which listed last December, boosted annual profit 52 percent to $9.83 million on the strength of its helicopter engineering unit, beating guidance.

Hellaby Holdings fell 5.3 percent to $2.99 after the diversified investment company sank into the red by $1.1 million in the latest financial year, from a previous profit of $18.2 million, as it wrote down the value of its footwear unit in a flat retail market. Still, it sweetened its dividend as underlying earnings grow. Stripping out a $26.8 million charge on the goodwill of its Hannahs and Number One Shoes brands, earnings rose 44 percent to $26.8 million,


© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


Science Investment Plan: Universities Welcome Statement

Universities New Zealand has welcomed the National Statement of Science Investment released by the Government today... this is a critical document as it sets out the Government’s ten-year strategic direction that will guide future investment in New Zealand’s science system. More>>


Scouring: Cavalier Merger Would Extract 'Monopoly Rents' - Godfrey Hirst

A merger of Cavalier Wool Holdings and New Zealand Wool Services International's two wool scouring operations would create a monopoly, says carpet maker Godfrey Hirst. The Commerce Commission on Friday released its second draft determination on the merger, maintaining its view that the public benefits would outweigh the loss of competition. More>>


Scoop Review Of Books: She Means Business

As Foreman says in her conclusion, this is a business book. It opens with a brief biographical section followed by a collection of interesting tips for entrepreneurs... More>>


Hourly Wage Gap Grows: Gender Pay Gap Still Fixed At Fourteen Percent

“The totally unchanged pay gap is a slap in the face for women, families and the economy,” says Coalition spokesperson, Angela McLeod. Even worse, Māori and Pacific women face an outrageous pay gap of 28% and 33% when compared with the pay packets of Pākehā men. More>>


Housing: English On Housing Affordability And The Economy

"Long lead times in the planning process tend to drive prices higher in the upswing of the housing cycle. And those lead times increase the risk that eight years later, when additional supply arrives, the demand shock that spurred the additional supply has reversed. The resulting excess supply could produce a price crash..." More>>


Sweet Health: Sugary Drinks Banned From Hospitals And Health Boards

All hospitals and DHBs are expected to kick sugary drinks out of their premises. University of Auckland researcher, Dr Gerhard Sundborn who also heads public health advocacy group “FIZZ”, says he welcomes the initiative. More>>


Get More From Scoop

Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news