Week ends with five days of pain for New Zealand stocks

The New Zealand sharemarket had its fifth successive day of falls on Friday, closing the week down 4 per cent overall and giving back all the gains made since Christmas.

With profit-taking having taken place – especially among the leading energy stocks – the market is now in a holding pattern awaiting the latest United States and New Zealand financial reporting rounds.

The S&P/NZX 50 Index fell 91.18 points or 0.7 per cent to 13,024.69 after reaching an intraday high of 13,148.25. The index is now at the same level as December 23 and 24.

There were 71 gainers and 77 decliners on steady trade of 47.58 million shares worth $170.15. Top ten stocks Contact, Meridian, Spark, Fisher and Paykel Healthcare, Mainfreight and Fletcher Building made up nearly half of the trading.

Jeremy Sullivan, an investment advisor with Hamilton Hindin and Greene said: “you won’t have investors making large bets until they see how the companies, both here and in the US, are performing from the reporting seasons (next month).”

The market is overshadowed by a slight increase in wholesale interest rates, and Sullivan said the Reserve Bank was unlikely to cut the cash rate further. “With less money being printed, that moves us into uncharted waters.”

The energy stocks were still pinned back – Meridian falling 7c to $7.87; Contact down 14c or 1.44 per cent to $9.55; Mercury losing 18c or 2.54 per cent to $6.92; and Genesis shedding 4c to $3.70. Trustpower was up 26c or 3.05 per cent to $8.78.

Fisher and Paykel Healthcare and Ryman Healthcare both had roller-coaster days. Fisher and Paykel closed down 64c or 1.98 per cent to $31.64 after reaching a high of $32.75 during the day, and Ryman reached $15.20 before settling down 20c to $14.55.

Summerset Group Holdings declined 25c or 2.05 per cent to $11.95; a2 Milk was down 19c or 1.7 per cent to $11.01; Freightways shed 15c to $10.25; Infratil decreased 12c or 1.65 per cent to $7.16; and Auckland International Airport fell 11c to $7.575.

Fletcher Building flew past $6 by gaining 21c or 3.49 per cent to $6.23; Ebos picked up 31c to $28.91; Skellerup Holdings was up 10c or 2.63 per cent to $3.90; and Air New Zealand rose 3c or 1.76 per cent to $1.735.

Other gainers were Heartland Group Holdings, up 6c or 3.45 per cent to $1.80 after receiving an analyst’s upgrade; Kiwi Property gaining 3c or 2.46 per cent to $1.25; PGG Wrightson picking up 15c or 4.52 per cent to $3.47; Scales Corporation increasing 4c to $5.04; and Smartpay climbing 5c or 5.88 per cent to 90c.

The retailers, providing upbeat trading updates on the back of strong consumer spending, are taking their turn to shine.

This time jeweller Michael Hill International upgraded its operating earnings for the first half of the 2021 financial year and its share price jumped 5c or 6.85 per cent to 78c.

Michael Hill now expects earnings before interest and tax of $56m-$60m – or $41m-$45m excluding the gross wage subsidy – representing 30-40 per cent growth on $31.6m for the same period last year.

Overall, same-store sales in New Zealand, Australia and Canada were up 6.3 per cent for the half-year, and online activity increased 102 per cent.

Napier Port reported an 8.2 per cent increase in bulk cargo led by log exports for the three months ending December, while container movements fell 3.9 per cent. The port company’s share price fell 5c to $3.32.

New Zealand Oil and Gas subsidiary, Cue Energy Resources, said commercial oil production, 600 barrels a day, has started from the PB field in Indonesia, and the dispute between Cue, with a 12.5 per cent participating interest, and its joint venture partners has been settled. NZOG’s share price slipped 1c or 1.87 per cent to 52.5c.

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