MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares fall in listless trading; power companies gain
By Paul McBeth
July 16 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand shares fell for a second day on light volumes, with heavyweights Auckland International Airport, Fisher & Paykel Healthcare and A2 Milk weighing on the broader index. Meridian Energy and Contact Energy rose as the government considers plans for faster transport electrification.
The S&P/NZX 50 Index decreased 15.36 points, or 0.1 percent, to 10,651.20. Within the index, 26 stocks fell, 15 rose, and nine were unchanged. Turnover was $83.7 million, with just five companies trading on volumes of more than a million shares.
Stock markets across Asia were subdued, with no firm lead from Wall Street ahead of second-quarter US corporate earnings. The next major domestic reporting season is in August, although boards will need to start updating investors as they get a handle on how their companies performed during the June half.
Grant Williamson, a director at Hamilton Hindin Greene, said companies will need to give guidance as they get "a better idea about what they've earned" but noted that there haven't been any downgrades or upgrades yet.
Auckland Airport led the market lower, down 2.3 percent at $9.48 on a volume of 557,000 shares, less than half its 90-day average. F&P Healthcare fell 1.8 percent to $15.46 on 333,000 shares, and A2 was down 0.9 percent at $16.40.
Williamson said local exporters were a little under pressure with the New Zealand dollar firming against the greenback, having started its ascent in the middle of June. Among other exporters, Sanford decreased 0.7 percent to $6.80, Pushpay Holdings slipped 0.3 percent to $3.33, and Air New Zealand dipped 0.2 percent to $2.69.
Contact was the day's biggest gainer, up 3 percent at $7.95 on a volume of 665,000 shares, less than half its 1.5 million average. Meridian rose 2.4 percent to $4.78 with 1 million shares traded, and Mercury NZ advanced 1.4 percent to $4.62. Genesis Energy slipped 0.4 percent to $3.475 and Trustpower was unchanged at $7.26.
Meridian and Mercury were among companies welcoming an Interim Climate Change Committee report on accelerated electrification and the government's response that it won't die in a ditch for its target for 100 percent renewable electricity generation by 2035.
Carbon Fund units were unchanged at 94 cents. Mercury's 2049 capital notes paying 3.6 percent were the most traded debt security on a volume of 806,000. The notes closed at a yield of 3.17 percent, having been issued on July 11.
Kiwi Property Group was the most traded stock on a volume of 2.9 million shares, about twice its 90-day average. It fell 0.3 percent to $1.60. Spark New Zealand declined 0.8 percent to $3.895 on a smaller volume than usual of 1.7 million shares, and Goodman Property Trust slipped 0.3 percent to $1.99 with 1.4 million units changing hands.
Precinct Properties New Zealand was unchanged at $1.76 on a volume of 1.1 million shares.
Dual-listed financial services firm AMP fell 0.5 percent to $1.90, adding to yesterday's 14 percent slump following news that the planned A$3.3 billion sale of its life unit was highly unlikely to proceed due to stipulations of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand.