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MARKET CLOSE: NZ stocks mixed on rate outlook

MARKET CLOSE: NZ stocks mixed on rate outlook; Trustpower leads decliners

By Gavin Evans

July 12 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand stocks were mixed with thin local corporate news insufficient to extend gains earlier in the week.

The S&P/NZX 50 Index increased 14.11 points, or 0.1 percent, to 10,701.43. Within the index, 18 stocks gained, 20 fell, and 12 was unchanged. Turnover was light at $77.3 million.

Stocks across Asia were generally firmer. Investors are still expecting a rate cut in the US at the end of the month but are less bullish after stronger-than-expected CPI data there overnight. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 0.5 percent and Singapore’s Straits Times Index rose 0.3 percent. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index fell 0.3 percent.

Bryon Burke, head of equity dealing at Craigs Investment Partners, said the market lacked fresh news after gaining around 0.5 percent during the course of the week.

The benchmark index is up 21 percent so far this year, which is still outperforming the world market, he noted.

“Without much company news to react too, general order flow seems to be dictating prices in a bit of a mixed day,” he said.

Retirement operator Summerset Group led the market higher, up 2.7 percent at $5.70. Volume was just over 146,000 shares, less than a third of its average the past three months.

Index heavyweight A2 Milk rose 0.8 percent to $16.61. About 997,000 shares changed hands, compared with an average 713,000 the past three months. The stock has jumped 9 percent since UBS raised its recommendation to ‘buy’ from ‘neutral’ and put a $17.50 target price on it mid-week.

Leading the decliners today was Trustpower, down 4.3 percent at $7.14. The country’s fifth-largest energy retailer warned a mild, dry June quarter could push full-year earnings toward the lower end of guidance. Hydro generation in the quarter was 28 percent lower than a year earlier, while demand was also soft, it said.

“Those results are not quite what the market was expecting,” Burke said.

The firm's larger rivals, which have benefited from investor demand for strong-yielding defensive stocks in recent weeks, generally fell.

Meridian Energy, the country’s biggest hydro generator, fell 1.2 percent to $4.82. About 1.35 million shares changed hands, a little below average

Contact Energy fell 0.1 percent to $7.79 and Genesis Energy fell 0.4 percent to $3.495. Mercury NZ rose 0.4 percent to $4.65.

Only three other stocks traded on more than a million shares. Sky Network Television was unchanged at $1.15, as was Kiwi Property Group at $1.615.

Spark New Zealand rose 1.9 percent to $3.97. The 1.37 million shares traded was about a third its average volume in recent months.

Outside the benchmark index, Tilt Renewables fell 1.2 percent to $2.46. The company today said June-quarter wind generation was up 4 percent on last year and 1 percent ahead of long-term expectations. Production in New Zealand was weak and 7 percent below long-term expectations.

Health products maker Blis Technologies fell 2.7 percent to 3.6 cents. An area around the firm’s South Dunedin site was closed early today after an unstable chemical was destroyed by emergency services in the street. The firm said staff identified the risk during a review of chemical stock and experts were called in as per the company’s protocols.

Fleet management technology company Eroad rose 1.3 percent to $3.08 after yesterday reporting a 6 percent rise in June-quarter unit sales.

New Zealand Oil & Gas, subject of a takeover offer from major shareholder OG Oil and Gas, rose 1.7 percent to 61.5 cents. OGOG is offering 62 cents.

(BusinessDesk)

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