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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares rise on haven buying, earnings

MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares rise on haven buying, earnings; GFF, Rubicon gain

New Zealand shares rose to the highest level since mid-2008, as the relative appeal of the nation’s economic prospects drew overseas investors to companies meeting or beating earnings guidance. Goodman Fielder and Rubicon gained.

The NZX 50 Index rose 22.30 points, or 0.6 percent, to 3631.18. Within the index, 20 stocks rose, 19 fell and 11 were unchanged. Turnover was about $113 million.

Goodman Fielder led gainers for a second session, rising 12 percent to 73 cents on the NZX after the Australian food and ingredients company said it was closer to selling non-core businesses while lifting sales in Asia and the Pacific region.

SkyCity ended the day unchanged at $3.58. The Auckland-based casino and hotel operator lifted annual profit by 8 percent to $141.4 million, meeting guidance, on growth from New Zealand’s largest city and a gain from the Rugby World Cup.

Goodman Fielder’s performance in Asia and the Pacific “is very encouraging” even as New Zealand and Australia remain a struggle, and the company is “nearer to divesting non-core assets, said Grant Williamson, a director at brokerage Hamilton Hindin Greene in Christchurch.

SkyCity’s results “were in line with guidance and the company said the new year had started well,” he said. More broadly, “we’re seeing a degree of foreign buying in the market – investments are not going into Europe.” That’s contributing to strength in the New Zealand dollar, he said.

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Software Company Diligent Board Member Services fell 0.8 percent to $3.80 after the company confirmed its soaring sales growth helped lift net profit to US$1.46 million in the three months ended June 30, up from US$1 million a year earlier. The stock has gained 99 percent this year.

Shares in Rubicon jumped 11 percent to 30 cents after ArborGen, its commercial forestry joint venture, acquired US-based seedlings supplier CellFor for C$1.1 million cash plus warrants over ArborGen shares. The move will reduce the holding of Rubicon and related investors to 31.67 percent from 33.33 percent when the warrants are exercised.

Telecom, the biggest company on the exchange, rose 3.3 percent to $2.83, bringing its gain this year to 31 percent. Telecom is a favourite for overseas investors I increasing their holdings of New Zealand equities.

Port of Tauranga, the nation’s biggest export port, rose about 2 percent to $11.78 and is up 16 percent this year. Xero, the cloud-based accounting services company, rose 2.2 percent to $5.21.

(BusinessDesk)

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