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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares mixed on weak overnight leads

MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares mixed on weak overnight leads; Spark gains, Fletcher falls

By Gavin Evans

Nov. 12 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand shares were mixed as wary local investors tried to find value in a still volatile global environment.

The S&P/NZX 50 index rose 25.45 points, or 0.3 percent, to 8,956.85. Within the index, 22 stocks fell, eight were unchanged and 20 fell. Turnover was modest at $86 million.

US stocks fell on Friday on a combination of weak economic data in China and lower earnings forecasts in the tech sector. Trading there is expected to be light with the Veterans Day holiday overnight.

Peter McIntyre, an investment advisor with Craigs Investment Partners, said the “weakish” leads from offshore have left local investors cautious.

While there is a reasonable flow of local news expected this week, the prospect of rising interest rates in the US and slowing global growth remain risks.

“Those factors are still being considered by investors,” he said. “There is still a very cautious tone to the market we have trading today.”

Spark New Zealand was the heaviest traded stock today with almost 2.4 million shares changing hands. It rose 0.6 percent to $4.09. The company last week announced it will move into its own sports content production and said it has the capability to go after all sport in New Zealand for its streaming service.

It was one of only a handful of stocks to have more than a million shares traded.

Fletcher Building fell 3 percent to $5.92, with a million shares traded. The New Zealand International Convention Centre the company is building in Auckland will not be completed by December 2019, SkyCity Entertainment said today without providing a new date. SkyCity said it is confident of its contractual position and litigation remains an option.

Fuel retailer Z Energy also continued its slow claw-back from its three-year low earlier this month. The stock was up 1.9 percent at $5.88 today, taking its gains the past week to 70 cents. More than 1.1 million shares traded today.

Kiwi Property fell 0.7 percent to $1.34 on volumes of 1.4 million shares. Pushpay Holdings fell 0.9 percent to $3.36, its lowest close in a year. The digital church collection operator saw more than 1.1 million of its shares change hands – more than three-times the daily average the past three months.

Trade Me Group rose 2 percent to $5.23. The company last week said revenue in the past four months was up 9 percent on last year, with earnings before interest and tax 10 percent higher. McIntyre said the prospects for the firm’s property activities look particularly good.

Meridian Energy, the country’s biggest hydro-generator, rose 1.2 percent to $3.28. Controlled storage in the country’s hydro dams jumped to within 7 percent of average yesterday after days of heavy rain on the South Island last week.

A2 Milk Co rose 1.2 percent to $10.54. China looks set to delay cross-border e-commerce rules that may have restricted the private buying networks or Daijou that move much Australian and New Zealand infant milk powders, the Australian Financial Review reported last week. Turnover today was about half the stock’s 1.3 million daily average for the past three months.

SkyCity Entertainment rose 1 percent to $3.85. Group revenue for the period through Nov. 7 is up 7 percent on a year earlier said the company, which is expecting modest full-year earnings growth. McIntyre said the performance of the firm’s international business has been particularly strong.

Auckland International Airport rose 0.1 percent to $7.205. Tourism bed nights reached 2.7 million in September, almost 3 percent higher than a year earlier.

Kiwifruit grower and marketer Seeka rose 2.3 percent to $5.83. The company, which today signalled a 14 percent increase in 2019 operating earnings, is planning to raise $50 million through a rights offer priced at $4.25 each.


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