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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares snap losing streak

MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares snap losing streak as A2, blue-chips bounce back

By Paul McBeth

Oct. 12 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand shares ended a nine-day losing streak, with A2 Milk Co and blue-chip stocks such as Spark New Zealand, Mercury NZ and Auckland International Airport driving the recovery.

The S&P/NZX 50 index increased 122.04 points, or 1.4 percent, to 8,843.24. Within the index, 28 stocks gained, 17 fell and five were unchanged. Turnover was $129.4 million.

The benchmark index fell 4.1 percent for the week. Widespread selling across the globe on Thursday accounted for much of the NZX 50's decline, with traders struggling to attribute the turn in sentiment to a particular event.

"Yesterday's move was the fifth worst one-day performance we've seen, so it's not much of a surprise that we're seeing some bounce," said James Lindsay, a portfolio manager at Nikko Asset Management. "Sometimes things are driven by one-off events, and sometimes it's a collection of things - rising interest rates, trade tensions, et cetera, built up to a point where that was enough."

Despite hitting a four-month low this week, the NZX 50 is still up 5.3 percent so far this year, one of the few equity benchmarks across Asia in positive territory. The New Zealand bourse's 5.5 percent dividend yield is the third-highest behind Australia's S&P/ASX 200 index and Pakistan's Karachi 100.

A2 led the market higher on the second largest volume, rising 9.4 percent to $9.89 with 1.7 million shares changing hands. Spark was the most active stock, with 3.5 million shares traded, and gained 0.9 percent at $3.86.

Blue-chip stocks dominated trading volumes. Meridian Energy was up 2.2 percent at $3.21 on 1.7 million shares traded. Mercury gained 0.3 percent at $3.29 on a volume of 1.7 million shares and Auckland Airport rose 3.5 percent to $7.055 with 1.6 million shares changing hands.

Air New Zealand fell 0.7 percent to $2.86 on a volume of 1.6 million shares, its lowest close since May 2017. Kiwi Property Group declined 0.4 percent to $1.35 on volume of 1.3 million shares.

NZX fell 1.9 percent to $1.05, the biggest decline on the NZX 50, and in heavier trading than usual. The stock market operator is facing a challenge from shareholder Elevation Capital over its board make-up and long-term strategy.

Outside the benchmark index, Abano Healthcare rose 1.9 percent to $8.15 on lighter than normal trading. Shareholder Fisher Funds Management today disclosed it sold its 8.8 percent stake in the medical investor.

Pacific Edge climbed 14 percent to 33 cents after receiving its preliminary reimbursement rate under US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The 1.4 million shares traded was more than seven times the 90-day average.

(BusinessDesk)

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