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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares at record

MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares at record as Skycity, Fisher & Paykel Health rally

By Sophie Boot

Aug. 20 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand shares hit a record ahead of a busy week of corporate results, led higher by SkyCity Entertainment Group and Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Corp. Pushpay Holdings dropped to an eight-month low.

The S&P/NZX50 Index rose 56.38 points, or 0.6 percent, to 9,109.15. It is up 7.8 per cent this year. Within the index, 23 stocks rose, 17 fell and 10 were unchanged. Turnover was $100.3 million.

"We're broadly at the halfway point of reporting season but this week is a monster, particularly on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. It's the calm before the storm, before we get an avalanche of results, and it does feel like the market is sitting back and waiting for all of those," said Mark Lister, head of private wealth research at Craigs Investment Partners. "It's a bit of a waiting game but the market is in pretty good spirits after international markets finished on a high note last week.

"The bigger companies and local blue chips are doing well. A lot of those are reporting this week so maybe it's a bit of positioning ahead of what is expected to be reasonably steady results," Lister said.

Leading the index higher was SkyCity Entertainment, up 1.9 percent to $4.27. Ebos Group rose 1.5 percent to $20.80 and Fletcher Building advanced 1.5 percent to $7.

Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Corp gained 1.8 percent to $15.17. The company's annual meeting is scheduled for Thursday afternoon.

"The vast bulk of their earnings comes from offshore, and their most important region is North America, so any time the US dollar is strong versus the NZ dollar you would expect FPH to be performing well," Lister said. The New Zealand dollar has firmed after falling to a two-and-a-half-year low earlier this month on concerns about potential trade wars and after the Reserve Bank signalled a flat interest rate track.

Pushpay was the worst performer, down 4.7 percent at $3.47, its lowest close since December last year. The stock has dropped 16 percent since Aug. 1, when the company delivered first-quarter revenue within guidance and reshuffled its senior management after another abrupt executive exit.

"It's still suffering in the wake of the selldown from one of the founders and a softer quarterly result," Lister said. "I think they've still got a lot of positives on their side - they're almost exclusively in North America, and the US economy is doing very well, and almost all of their revenues are US dollar so they should be benefiting on the currency front. The market just wasn't impressed with the quarterly result and for the time being, people are a bit gun-shy."

Kathmandu Holdings fell 1.9 percent to $3.12 and Skellerup Holdings dropped 1.8 percent to $2.15.

Z Energy dipped 0.3 percent to $7.34. It will raise as much as $125 million through a new six-year bond paying at least 4 percent a year. It will use the funds to refinance $150 million of debt that matured last week.

The Wellington-based company is selling $100 million of six-year unsubordinated secured fixed rate bonds and will take up to $25 million in oversubscriptions, it said in a statement. The funds raised will partially refinance $150 million of listed bonds that matured last week.

(BusinessDesk)

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