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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares down on Genesis, Mainfreight falls

MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares down on Genesis, Mainfreight falls, Xero bounces

By Sophie Boot

Nov. 15 (BusinessDesk) - The New Zealand benchmark index dipped back below 8,000 as Genesis Energy and Mainfreight dropped, while Xero recovered somewhat from recent selling.

The S&P/NZX50 Index fell 8.06 points, or 0.1 percent, to 7,999.94. Within the index, 23 stocks fell, 19 rose and eight were unchanged. Turnover was $186 million.

Metro Performance Glass led the index lower, down 4.4 percent to 86 cents, while Genesis dropped 3.5 percent to $2.375. David Price, broker at Forsyth Barr, said Genesis had released monthly customer statistics today.

"They had their second-worst month ever, losing 3,400 customers," Price said. "One of the things we have seen in the past is that the cost of getting customers has continued to creep up, the last number was about an eighteen-month payback as they give people inducements. I'm not saying they're at that stage yet but that's something you wouldn't want to see re-starting because it becomes a bit of a race to the bottom from the retail side."

Mainfreight fell 1.5 percent to $23.75. The transport and logistics group posted first-half results that missed its own expectations, but is still trading at a high enough multiple to leave it vulnerable to any further disappointment. Profit rose to $42.2 million in the six months ended Sept. 30 from $41.8 million a year earlier, the Auckland-based company said today. Sales rose to $1.2 billion from $1.1 billion.

The first six months of the year were characterised by strong trading in Australia and New Zealand, and improving results in Europe which were offset by weaker results in the Americas and Asia. The stock is trading at around 20 times 2018 full-year earnings per share and Mainfreight said today it expects an improvement in full-year profit.

"There were a number of one-offs that affected the result, they are expecting quite a big second half so we will see some forecasts change from people, probably tinkered down $2 or $3 million," Price said. "It's not as much as it may have first appeared when it came out, the investor call may have given people a bit more comfort. The price is about what I'd expect to see in terms of profit forecast cuts."

Xero was the best performer, up 4 percent to $32.67, bouncing back from recent selling after it announced its plans to delist from the NZX. The shares are down 4 percent since that announcement last Thursday.

Kathmandu Holdings gained 2.2 percent to $2.38 and Skycity Entertainment Group rose 1.8 percent to $3.92.

Outside the benchmark index, Abano Healthcare Group dipped 0.2 percent to $9.75. It said first-half profit may fall because recent dental clinic acquisitions across the Tasman won't deliver immediate gains and the relocation of its biggest Lumino practice attracted some costs.

Foley Family Wines rose 0.7 percent to $1.50. The company, which is controlled by US businessman Bill Foley, has bought Mt Difficulty Wines for about $55 million, subject to Overseas Investment Office approval.

(BusinessDesk)

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