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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares shrug off Synlait slump

MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares shrug off Synlait slump, join global rally

By Paul McBeth

Sept. 19 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand shares rose as investors shrugged off a slightly gloomier outlook for Synlait Milk and joined a global rally as the latest bout in the US-China trade war wasn't as harsh as feared.

The S&P/NZX index increased 29.29 points, or 0.3 percent, to 9,345.06. Within the index 23 stocks gained, 18 fell and nine were unchanged. Turnover was $148.2 million.

Stocks across Asia followed Wall Street higher after US President Donald Trump's 10 percent tariff on US$200 billion of Chinese goods and the subsequent retaliation were more moderate than investors had anticipated. The Shanghai Composite index was up 1 percent in afternoon trading, while Japan's Topix gained 1.5 percent and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 index increased 0.5 percent.

"The trade shots did not trigger a risk-off mode but acted as a catalyst to positive investor sentiment," CMC Market analyst Jonathan Chan said. "Risk assets such as equities found support in a robust manner."

The main local news was Synalit's near-doubling of annual profit to $74.6 million as the milk processor lifted sales of its high-value dairy products. However, the share price fell 6.6 percent to $11.94 due to chief executive Leon Clement playing down the outlook, saying infant formula sales will probably grow at a slower pace.

Rickey Ward, NZ equity manager at JBWere, said the result was pretty good and in line with expectations, but the outlook fell short of what people were hoping for.

"High multiples and good returns bring high expectations and the market is very sensitive to slight variations on that," he said.

A2 Milk Co gained 1.1 percent to $12.27.

Heartland Bank rose 1.8 percent to $1.70 after the lender's shareholders approved a restructuring to split the Australian reverse mortgage business form the bank, removing it from Reserve Bank prudential rules.

Exporter Comvita led the market higher, up 2.7 percent to $6.57. Dual-listed banks Westpac Banking Corp and Australia & New Zealand Banking Group gained 1.9 percent and 1.1 percent to $30.99 and 31.50 respectively.

Chorus gained 1 percent to $5, a record for the network company that was carved out of Telecom in 2011. Spark New Zealand increased 0.5 percent to $4.08.

Arvida Group gained 1.5 percent to $1.36. The retirement village operator yesterday told investors the cooling property market hadn't spilled over into its resales, which were still selling at widening margins.

Tourism Holdings extended its decline for another day, falling 2.9 percent to $5.09. Freightways fell 1.3 percent to $7.75.

New Zealand Refining slipped 0.4 percent after reporting its second-biggest throughput in July/August, at a smaller margin than a year earlier.

Kathmandu Holdings decreased 1.2 percent to $3.19. The retailer yesterday reported a 33 percent increase in annual profit and outlined plans for a dual-brand strategy in North America and Europe.

Pushpay Holdings fell 1 percent to $4.18. Morgan Stanley today emerged as a substantial shareholder with 5.4 percent.

Sky Network Television fell 0.5 percent to $2.11.


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