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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares rise; Sky TV recovers on rugby rights rumour

Monday 14th October 2019

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(Oct. 11, 5:59 PM) New Zealand shares started soft but ended stronger as Sky Network Television pared back some of yesterday’s losses amid speculation it's won the rights to broadcast All Blacks and Super rugby matches. 

The S&P/NZX50 50 Index increased by 36.98 points, or 0.3 percent, to 10,923.71. Within the index, 27 stocks rose, 16 fell, and seven were unchanged. Turnover was $83.3 million

Sky recouped some of yesterday's slump, rising 1.1 percent to 89 cents, having shed about a fifth of its value yesterday. Almost 1.5 million shares traded hands, after 3.3 million were traded yesterday. Its 90-day average is 848,000 shares. 

The pay-TV operator bounced back from yesterday's loss of the domestic cricket broadcasting rights, announcing this morning it will keep world cup cricket coverage for the next four years.

Later in the day, Sky played down speculation it kept the broadcasting rights for all All Blacks, Rugby Championship and Super Rugby matches until 2025 in a $400 million deal, saying the negotiations were continuing. 

The rumours come ahead of Sky's annual meeting next week, where shareholders will be asked to vote on whether management can negotiate “as they see fit” for the rights. 

A2 Milk led the market higher, up 2.3 percent at $13.20 on a volume of 328,000 shares, less than half its 782,000 average. 

Chris Timms, an investment adviser at Craigs Investment Partners, said investors are still looking for quality stocks, which supported the likes of A2 and other well-known companies including Fisher & Paykel Healthcare and Meridian Energy. F&P Healthcare rose 0.6 percent to $17 and Meridian was up 0.7 percent at $5.31 on a volume of almost 2 million shares

“The rest of the market has been in recovery as A2 Milk has come back along with some of the bigger players like F&P Healthcare,” Timms noted. 

Fletcher Building was today’s volume leader, with more than 2.3 million shares trading hands, compared to its 1.4 million average. The stock fell 0.8 percent to $4.70. 

Investore Property posted the day's biggest decline, down 2.1 percent at $1.85 on a volume of 83,000 shares, almost half its 151,000 average. 

Overnight leads were broadly positive, and stocks across Asia were stronger. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was up 2.1 percent in afternoon trading and the Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.4 percent. The S&P/ASX 200 Index advanced 0.9 percent. 

Timms said the low interest rate environment meant investors are accepting a bit of risk for more return, given more optimism about the trade talks between the US and China. 

US President Donald Trump is "talking a pretty big book at the moment and saying he doesn’t have to make a deal but he’s coming up for election next year and the Chinese don’t have to worry about that sort of thing,” Timms said. 

Air New Zealand was trading up 0.7 percent at $2.85 after the national carrier announced Greg Foran, the chief executive of Walmart US, would return to New Zealand to take over as chief executive officer from early next year.

Outside the benchmark index, Michael Hill International shares rose by 14.5 percent to a six-month high of 71 cents, with almost 1.8 million shares traded. Today, the jeweller reported a 9.7 percent lift in September-quarter sales, although it said margin compression is still an issue.


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