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MARKET CLOSE: NZ stocks edge higher

MARKET CLOSE: NZ stocks edge higher: Ebos, Auckland Airport, Mainfreight hit records

By Paul McBeth

June 13 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand shares shook off soft international leads, edging higher as blue-chip stocks including Ebos Group, Auckland International Airport and Mainfreight all hit records.

The S&P/NZX 50 Index increased 18.67 points, or 0.2 percent, to 10,223.81. Within the index, 27 stocks gained, 16 fell, and seven were unchanged. Turnover was $107.4 million.

The benchmark index was one of just five across Asia Pacific in positive territory after a lacklustre night on Wall Street. The prospect of lower US interest stoking demand for equities has been tempered by fears that the US-China trade stoush will slow global growth.

"Those soft leads have been enough to put a dampener on the market for the day," said Grant Davies, an investment advisor at Hamilton Hindin Greene.

Ebos hit a record $23.40. It ended the day at $23.18, up 1.7 percent on a volume of 86,000 shares, against its 90-day average of 100,000. Mainfreight increased 1 percent to a record $39.80 on a volume of 67,000, more than its usual 49,000, while Auckland International Airport closed at an all-time high $9, up 0.9 percent, on a volume of 997,000.

Those three companies are among blue-chip stocks that remain in favour on the NZX. Utilities and property investment firms are all trading at or near record highs, due to the attraction of reliable dividends in a low interest rate environment.

Precinct Properties New Zealand rose 1.5 percent to $1.675 on a larger volume than normal of 1.1 million shares. Goodman Property Group was up 1.1 percent at $1.86 and Meridian Energy advanced 1 percent to a record close of $4.48 on 1.5 million shares.

Spark New Zealand was the most active stock with 3.1 million shares changing hands, down on its usual volume of about 5.4 million. It rose 1.8 percent to $3.875. Kiwi Property Group increased 0.6 percent to $1.575 on a volume of 2.6 million, almost twice its 90-day average. A2 Milk fell 0.7 percent to $14.71 on a volume of 1.1 million.

Synlait Milk led the market higher, up 2.7 percent at $9.96 with 63,000 shares changing hands, about half its usual volume.

Infratil increased 0.1 percent to $4.385. After local trading closed, the stock was halted for the shortfall bookbuild of its retail capital raising. It raised $121.6 million from that part of the offer, with eligible retail investors taking up about 67 percent of their entitlements.

Ryman Healthcare posted the day's biggest decline, down 3 percent at $11.51 on a volume of 332,000, less than its 429,000 average. Scales Corp fell 1.5 percent to $4.73 and Contact Energy declined 1.3 percent to $7.55.

Fisher & Paykel Healthcare decreased 1 percent, or 15 cents, to $15.20 after it shed rights to a 13.5 cent dividend. Stride Property Group was down 0.5 percent, or 1 cent, at $2.16 after giving up rights to a 2.48 cent dividend.

Pushpay Holdings was unchanged at $3.82. The New Zealand Shareholders' Association today said it will vote against Peter Huljich's election to the board.

Heartland Bank's 2022 notes paying annual interest 4.5 percent, were the most traded debt security on a volume of 3 million. The notes closed at a yield of 2.79 percent, down 9 basis points. Heartland Group's shares rose 0.6 percent to $1.61.


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