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MARKET CLOSE: NZ stocks rise, Z Energy plunges

MARKET CLOSE: NZ stocks rise as emboldened investors seek value; Z Energy plunges

By Gavin Evans

Nov. 1 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand shares rose for a fourth day in five as improving sentiment in global markets encouraged investors back into some favoured sectors.

The S&P/NZX index advanced 91.52 points, or 1.1 percent, to 8,843.83. Within the index, 31 stocks gained, 12 fell and seven were unchanged. Turnover was $134.2 million.

David Price, director of institutional equities at Forsyth Barr, said the latest round of annual meetings and September earnings are providing investors some direction.

But he said that, despite 16 down sessions out of 21 trading days in October, price-earnings ratios are “still pretty high” given growth rates are “relatively anaemic.”

The biggest news on the market today was Z Energy. The country’s biggest fuel retailer dropped 9.3 percent to a three-and-half year low of $5.53 after reporting a 21 percent drop in first-half earnings and announcing a dividend about five cents less than investors were expecting.

Price said investors had not been expecting a strong result since the firm’s first-quarter update but “had lost sight of the dividend.”

The company will also have to have a “pretty solid second half” to meet the revised full-year guidance it offered today, Price said.

Among the major gainers. A2 Milk Co rose 2.7 percent to $10.70. Synlait Milk rose for a third day from a seven-month low, gaining 0.9 percent to $8.75 today. Ryman Healthcare rose 6.2 percent to $12.85.

Fletcher Building fell 1.3 percent to $5.96 after reporting a non-cash loss of up to $20 million on the US$39 million sale of the firm’s steel roof tile business to Canada’s IKO group.

Price said the sales price achieved was better than many would have expected.

Homeware and sporting goods retailer Briscoe Group rose 0.3 percent to $3.35. The firm’s third-quarter sales rose 2.6 percent to $129.4 million, or 1.4 percent on a same-store basis. Gross profit margins also improved despite subdued consumer confidence and higher pump prices.

Kathmandu Holdings rose 7.1 percent to $2.87. The outdoor equipment retailer has had a “reprieve” in recent days after steady selling by a large holder, Price said.

Air New Zealand rose 5.7 percent to $2.96. The company reported 6 percent September passenger growth yesterday.

Tourism Holdings fell 1.6 percent to $4.92. Investors at the company’s annual meeting yesterday were wary of the firm’s plans to sell out of many of its local tourism activities and invest $15 million in its TH2Connect joint venture with US RV maker Thor.

Precinct Properties New Zealand fell 0.4 percent to $1.405. The 2.5 million shares traded today was about three times the 90-day daily average. The company is going ahead with the second stage of its Wynyard Quarter development on an uncommitted basis.

Auckland International Airport rose 1 percent to $7.06. The Commerce Commission today said the $1.8 billion the firm plans to spend on infrastructure during the next five years may over-recover $37 million. The regulator stopped short of calling the proposed 7.06 percent return excessive.

Among other companies with volumes of more than one million, Meridian Energy rose 0.5 percent to $3.15, Spark New Zealand rose 0.9 percent to $3.985, Goodman Property Trust was unchanged at $1.50, as was Kiwi Property Trust at $1.315.

(BusinessDesk)

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