MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares join global rally as Fed set to pause rate hikes; Pushpay gains
By Paul McBeth
Nov. 29 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand shares joined a global rally after Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell indicated an early pause to higher interest rates, stoking demand for growth stocks such as Pushpay Holdings.
The S&P/NZX 50 index rose 80.92 points, or 0.9 percent, to 8,794.88. Within the index, 34 stocks gained, 10 fell, and six were unchanged. Turnover was $111.1 million.
Pushpay led the index higher, up 5.3 percent to $3.39 on twice its average volume. Tech stocks were buoyed by Powell's comments last night with the Nasdaq up 3 percent.
Greg Smith, head of research at Fat Prophets, said the Fed's stance was markedly different to just a few months ago in assessing monetary policy to be just below neutral. That supported stock markets around the world heading into the G20 leaders' meeting this weekend.
"Risk appetite came back and there was a big bounce in the Nasdaq last night," he said. "That would be good for companies like Pushpay."
Sky Network Television rose 4 percent to $2.34 and Summerset Group gained 3.2 percent at $6.42 on light volumes. A2 Milk rose 1.1 percent to $10.90 on average volumes of 1.3 million.
Spark New Zealand was the most traded stock with 2.8 million shares changing hands. The telco rose 1.2 percent to $4.17, a day after its infrastructure partner Huawei was deemed to be a security risk by the Government Communications Security Bureau and effectively blocked from building its 5G mobile network. Fixed-line network operator Chorus fell 1.4 percent to $4.775 on a volume of 1.9 million, compared to an average 468,000.
Meridian Energy rose 2.5 percent to $3.25 on a larger volume than normal of 2.2 million, while Infratil increased 0.9 percent to $3.57 on volume of 2 million, compared to its 90-day average of 372,000.
Fletcher Building advanced 1.9 percent to $4.79 on volume of 1.9 million shares. The building company applied to the Commerce Commission to buy a quarry operation, but not the land underneath.
Air New Zealand increased 0.3 percent to $3.10 on 1.3 million shares. The airline carried more passengers in October. Separately, chief executive Christopher Luxon sold 1.5 million shares on market for $4.575 million yesterday. He still holds 3 million shares.
Gentrack sank 7.5 percent to $6.15 after warning that Brexit had created uncertainty among the utilities software provider's customers.
Smith said the company's earnings were in line with guidance, but that investors were nervous about the situation in Europe with Brexit and Italy's budget projections.
Outside the benchmark index, Augusta Capital fell 0.5 percent to $1.085 on light volumes. It more than doubled first-half profit after shifting its focus to managing assets and syndication offers rather than simply investing directly in property.
Moa Group was unchanged at 43 cents after narrowing its first-half loss and affirming plans to break even.
Pacific Edge rose 2.6 percent to 40 cents after reporting increased sales and a smaller first-half loss. The bladder cancer test maker announced plans to raise another $12 million at 35 cents.
QEX Logistics was unchanged at $1.28 after tripling first-half sales and saying it's on track to deliver $60 million of annual revenue.