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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares edge up; Spark, Arvida gain while Scales, Fisher & Paykel fall

Monday 28th May 2018

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New Zealand shares edged higher, led by Spark New Zealand and Arvida Group, while Scales Corp and Fisher & Paykel Healthcare weakened.

The S&P/NZX50 Index gained 6.8 points, or 0.08 percent, to 8,645.2. Within the index, 21 stocks rose, 20 fell and nine were unchanged. Turnover was $116 million.

Spark was the best performer, rising 2.4 percent to $3.635 having outlined plans to accelerate restructuring last week, while Arvida gained 2.4 percent ahead of an earnings announcement tomorrow and Fletcher Building increased 2 percent to $6.68.

Investore Property rose 1.4 percent to $1.48. The large-format retail landlord, spun out of Stride Property, boosted annual earnings 16 percent as the acquisition of three Bunnings stores added to rental income and reduced its reliance on Countdown supermarkets. Distributable profit, a favoured measure of listed property firms which strips out revaluation movements and the impact of property sales, rose to $20.5 million in the 12 months ended March 31 from $17.6 million a year earlier.

Kathmandu Holdings was the worst performer, down 2.8 percent to $2.43, while Fonterra Shareholders Fund fell 1.9 percent to $5.23 in continued weakness since it last week cut its projected dividend payments as increased global dairy prices pushed up what it plans to pay to its farmer shareholders. 

Scales declined 2.3 percent to $4.74. A notice to the stock exchange today showed managing director Andy Borland cut his stake in the NZX-listed agribusiness on April 23, with the shares trading near a record high. Borland still owns 750,000 shares in the family trust and another 228,931 through Scales' senior executive share scheme. 

F&P Healthcare dropped 1.3 percent to $13.18. New Zealand's biggest listed healthcare technology company lifted 2018 annual profit to the top end of its forecast range and said it expects record earnings in the coming year as it benefits from growing global demand. Profit rose 12 percent to $190.2 million in the year ended March 31. It forecast 2019 annual operating revenue in its 50th year of operation of about $1.05 billion and profit of about $210 million. 

"It delivered a really solid result, the outlook was bang in line but guidance was a big miss for the consensus viewpoint," said Peter McIntyre, investment adviser at Craigs Investment Partners. "When you've got a company that has performed exceptionally well, and it's trading on a high multiple, the expectation is that your future earnings are going to be very very good. The shares got down around $12.84 today, so it has been bouncing around a bit. It's a quality business and everyone knows that, but it is priced to perfection." 

Goodman Property Trust dipped 0.7 percent to $1.42. The NZX-listed commercial and industrial property investor saw profit fall in 2018 as it focused on pivoting to the Auckland industrial market, due largely to smaller revaluation gains in the latest year.

Post balance date, the trust agreed to sell a further $323.9 million of its assets, which would leave 99 percent of the trust's assets in industrial land and buildings in Auckland, and its portfolio worth $2.2 billion. It says it expects industrial property to benefit from e-commerce and immigration trends and its assets are in key locations close to consumers.

"If you look on a reported basis you could say the result was weak-ish, but transactional activity was masking a very strong underlying result," McIntyre said. "They're making a step-change towards 100 percent pure play in Auckland industrial, they're moving to that." 

Outside the benchmark index, Evolve Education Group dipped 3.3 percent to 58 cents. It booked previously signalled impairment charges to its Porse in-home childcare unit, having twice downgraded guidance. The Auckland-based early childhood education group also appointed a new chief executive.


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