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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares led higher by exporters

MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares led higher by exporters Kathmandu, A2 in light trading

By Paul McBeth

July 3 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand shares rose in light trading ahead of the US Independence Day holiday, with exporters Kathmandu Holdings and A2 Milk Co leading the market higher.

The S&P/NZX 50 Index increased 12.49 points, or 0.1 percent, to 10,544.43. Within the index, 27 stocks rose, 18 fell, and five were unchanged. Turnover was $84.7 million, with just three stocks trading on volumes of more than a million shares.

Stocks across Asia were largely weaker as investors continue to worry over the trade tensions between the US and China, which may not have subsided as many hoped after the G20 leaders' meeting. That weighed more heavily on the greenback, with the kiwi dollar ending the day at 66.78 US cents, largely unchanged from the day earlier.

Exporters led the market higher. Outdoor equipment retailer Kathmandu was up 3.3 percent at $2.17 on a volume of just 78,000 shares, about half its 90-day average of 158,000. A2 rose 2.5 percent to $15.07 on 630,000 shares, and Fisher & Paykel Healthcare increased 1.3 percent to $16.20.

Grant Davies, an investment advisor at Hamilton Hindin Greene, said investors are waiting for earnings season in August for a steer on where companies with June and December balance dates are tracking. As management accounts come in, boards will have to disclose whether they were in line with guidance.

"Over the next week or two we might start to get an idea of what we're in for," Davies said.

Spark New Zealand was the most traded stock on a volume of 2.8 million shares, well down on its 5.1 million average. The shares fell 1.5 percent to $3.99. ASX-listed Vocus Group, whose New Zealand division is the country's third-biggest broadband player, today said its Kiwi business continued to be a strong performer and was well-positioned for growth.

Kiwi Property Group rose 0.3 percent to $1.615 on a volume of 2.4 million shares, almost twice its 1.4 million average. Precinct Properties New Zealand increased 0.6 percent to $1.75 on a volume of 1.1 million shares.

Property stocks have been in demand in the globally low interest rate environment, which has helped keep New Zealand's benchmark index near an all-time high. Property For Industry rose 0.5 percent to $2.21 on a volume of 911,000 and Goodman Property Trust was up 0.5 percent at $1.93 on a volume of 867,000 units.

Tourism Holdings dropped 5.3 percent to $3.60 as 86,000 shares changed hands, less than half its 175,000 average. Synlait Milk declined 2.7 percent to $9.05.

Fonterra Shareholders' Fund units were down 0.8 percent at $3.75, having hit a record low $3.73. Dairy prices fell at the latest Global Dairy Trade auction, and investors are unconvinced that Fonterra's efforts to pare back its businesses will improve its profitability.

The cooperative's farmer-owned shares fell 0.5 percent to $3.75, giving a market capitalisation of $6.04 billion. When Fonterra listed the fund at $5.50 a unit in 2012, the cooperative's implied market cap was $8.72 billion.

NZX was unchanged at $1.12. Its June metrics showed an increase in share trading volumes, although on lighter volumes, and more activity being done on the formal market.

Shares of Pushpay Holdings were halted at $3.79 to allow founder and former chief executive Chris Heaslip to sell down his stake in an orderly fashion, using a bookbuild managed by Deutsche Craigs. The investment bank underwrote the sale.

Outside the benchmark index, Cannasouth jumped 14 percent to 33 cents after the medicinal cannabis firm said it will receive R&D support from Callaghan Innovation.

Auckland International Airport's 2023 bond paying 3.674 percent annual interest was the most traded debt security on a volume of 663,000 notes. They closed at a yield of 2.02 percent, down 6 basis points. The airport operator's shares fell 1.5 percent to $9.62, or a gross yield of 3.13 percent.


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