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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares rise in broad regional rally, Mercury NZ, Kiwi Property gain

Monday 30th April 2018

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New Zealand shares rallied across the board, with Mercury New Zealand and Kiwi Property Group leading the index while Scales Corp and Comvita dropped.

The S&P/NZX 50 Index gained 73.21 points, or 0.9 percent, to 8,443.58. Within the index, 40 stocks rose, five were unchanged and five fell. Turnover was $151.3 million.

"The index has been trending up since the open really, it's a broad-based rally" said James Smalley, investment advisor at Hamilton Hindin Greene. "There wasn't huge guidance overnight, certainly not from the US market, but it has been a reasonable day in Asia and Australia is up about the same amount as us. We're probably just trading in line with the regional bourses."

Mercury New Zealand led the index higher, up 2.9 percent to $3.19. Kiwi Property Group gained 2.6 percent to $1.37 and Synlait Milk advanced 2.6 percent to $10.

Sky Network Television gained 1.8 percent to $2.28. The stock saw $6 million in turnover today, making it the seventh most heavily traded stock on the benchmark index.

"It seems to be a stock that really polarises people: it's either a deep discounted cash play or a systemically challenged sunset business, and there's a few bids on each side - you can see that in the big crosses going either way. That will play out over the next couple of years," Smalley said.

Z Energy rose 1.4 percent to $7.25. An internal BP New Zealand emailed leaked to Stuff showed the local subsidiary of global oil giant BP would raise petrol prices in Paraparaumu, Kapiti and Levin in the hope its competitors would match those prices, and reduce the price gap in Otaki where the company was losing volume. At a press conference this afternoon, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she wants to hear BP's explanation but says the tactics underpin the need for greater investigative powers by the Commerce Commission. 

The commission was already set to get greater investigative powers to trigger formal market studies, where it can compel companies to provide information, something Commerce Minister Kris Faafoi wants in place by the end of the year.

"Obviously investors at the moment don't seem to be too concerned with impact of any regulatory action," Smalley said. "The stock may be part of a broad-based rally today, but investors would be wanting to keep an eye on the issue."

Scales Corp dropped 1.6 percent to $4.43, while Comvita fell 1.3 percent to $7.01 and Fisher & Paykel Healthcare fell 0.9 percent to $12.75.

Fletcher Building dipped 0.2 percent to $6.31. The company completed the institutional component of its $750 million capital raise earlier this month, generating gross proceeds of $515 million, and the retail component of Fletcher's capital raise opened on April 23 and closes on May 11.

"Prior to the rights issue, the stock was up on what appears to have been unfounded speculation," Smalley said. "The capital raise would normally depress the price anyway, so the fact that it's held up and the strength of the institutional bookbuild, about 98 percent took up their rights, bodes pretty well for how well it will trade once the rights entitlement is over. Retail investors who don't take up their entitlements are likely to get a reasonable price for them."

(BusinessDesk)

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