Market close: NZ sharemarket shrugs off big Wall Street falls

The New Zealand sharemarket shrugged off the big falls on Wall Street – though the latest Covid concerns provided contrasting impacts locally, benefiting healthcare stocks like Fisher and Paykel and affecting travel and leisure companies such as SkyCity.

The S&P/NZX 50 Index closed at 12,650.84, down just 1.25 points or 0.01 per cent, after falling to 12,543.79 in the morning before recovering throughout the afternoon on renewed buying demand.

There were 97 decliners and 42 gainers over the whole market, and trading picked up with 49.89 million shares worth $203.78 million changing hands.

The local market started trading in the wake of the Dow Jones Industrial Average’s biggest fall since late October – down 725 points or 2.09 per cent to 33,962.04 – as investors were spooked about the rising numbers of Covid-19 cases caused by the Delta variant and the effect on the United States economic recovery.

Long-term bond rates in the US continued to slide – the 10-year Treasury yield went below 1.2 per cent for the first time since February – a sign that fixed-income investors are now more worried about a Delta-induced economic slowdown than rising inflation.

The S&P 500 Index fell 1.59 per cent to 4258.49 points and the technology-driven Nasdaq Composite was down 1.06 per cent to 14,274.98. The Dow Jones is still more than 10 per cent ahead and the S&P 500 is up 13 per cent this year, and both indices are only 3 per cent off their all-time highs.

Matt Goodson, managing director of Salt Funds Management, said the local market fell 80 points early and this was a knee-jerk reaction to Wall Street.

“Markets are now taking heed of the Delta variant implications and whether they matter that much over time as the vaccinations are rolled out. It’s quite interesting that the large rise in infections is not being matched by a high level of hospitalisations.

“The healthcare and high-multiple growth stocks are once again beneficiaries at the expense of cyclical and re-opening shares,” Goodson said.

The Covid concerns pushed market leader Fisher and Paykel Healthcare ahead 72c or 2.33 per cent to $31.60 on trade worth $37m; and medical products distributor Ebos Group gained 60c or 1.9 per cent to $32.10.

But Auckland International Airport was down 10.5c to $7.39, and SkyCity Entertainment fell 12c or 3.64 to $3.18, after sitting at $3.51 on June 30. SkyCity told the market it has closed its Adelaide casino because of South Australia’s seven-day lockdown.

Another beneficiary Vista Group was up 9c or 4.15 per cent to $2.26. Vista’s management software is getting full play in cinemas throughout the US and UK which is operating without Covid restrictions.

On the rebound were Napier Port increasing 9c or 2.8 per cent to $3.30; Port of Tauranga gaining 10c to $6.90; and South Port New Zealand recovering 20c or 2.57 per cent to $7.97.

Contact Energy collected 12c to $8.29; Synlait Milk was up 9c or 2.38 per cent to $3.87; Summerset Group Holdings rose 25c or 1.89 per cent to $13.50; Restaurant Brands gained 24c to $15.85; and The Colonial Motor Company increased 10c to $9.10.

Ryman Healthcare was down 11c to $13.01; a2 Milk lost 12c to $7.26; Fletcher Building fell 12c to $7.04; Sanford declined 9c or 1.84 per cent to $4.79; AFT Pharmaceuticals shed 12c or 2.6 per cent to $4.50; Third Age Health Services; decreased 8c or 3.42 per cent to $2.26; and ArborGen Holdings was down 3c or 9.09 per cent to 30c.

Genesis Energy will continue its 46 per cent ownership in the Kupe gas field off the coast of Taranaki following a strategic review, and its share price declined 6c to $3.40. Genesis updated its 2021 operating earnings (Ebitdaf) guidance to $405m-$410m.

Transport technology firm EROAD has opened its $16.1m share purchase plan, in addition to its $64.4m placement, to help fund the purchase of Coretex. EROAD’s share price was down 12c or 1.79 per cent to $6.58.

NZX fell 6c or 3.19 per cent to $1.82 after announcing it is creating a new Portfolio ESG Tilted Index in conjunction with S&P Dow Jones Indices. The tilted index is based on the S&P/NZX 50 Index and measures the environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance of companies as more investors include sustainability targets in their investment decisions.

My Food Bag Group’s chief operating officer Richard Wafer has resigned to join a technology start-up outside the food sector. My Food Bag was unchanged at $1.35.

TIL Logistics Group chief executive Alan Pearson has left his job, though he will remain a shareholder, and chief financial officer Lee Banks temporarily filling the role. TIL fell 4c or 3.23 per cent to $1.20.

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