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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares up as A2, Genesis rally, while Pushpay drops

Friday 19th January 2018

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New Zealand shares gained, led by a recent rally in A2 Milk Co and as Genesis Energy rose on a strong quarterly report, while investors continued to sell down Pushpay Holdings after last year's massive gains. 

The S&P/NZX50 Index rose 17.29 points, or 0.2 percent, to 8,289.96. Within the index, 25 stocks fell, 15 rose and 10 were unchanged. Turnover was $99 million.

A2 Milk led the index higher, up 2.8 percent to $8.53. Earlier in the week the company told the stock exchange it plans to roll out its US business to nine states on the eastern seaboard, which it expects will expand its retail footprint by more than a third. 

The stock has recovered some ground after dropping to a two-month low of $7.69 earlier in January, said Grant Davies, investment advisor at Hamilton Hindin Greene.

Genesis Energy rose 1.9 percent to $2.48. In a second-quarter performance update today, the company said it had continued organic growth in LPG customers, up 27 percent from the prior comparable quarter, and a 24 percent lift in B2B electricity sales. These were offset by residential electricity and gas declines in part due to a warmer than average quarter.

The power company also said it had had a strong quarter in its wholesale segment "as the strength of Genesis’ diverse portfolio across North and South Island, thermal and hydro, enabled value creation in volatile market conditions."

Trustpower rose 1.6 percent to $5.90 after it affirmed annual guidance, saying earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, amortisation and fair value adjustments will be near the mid-point of a $255 million-to-$270 million range. The power company has cited strong wholesale electricity prices for three earnings upgrades in the past financial year. Cornerstone shareholder Infratil fell 0.3 percent to $3.33. 

Pushpay Holdings was the worst performer, down 4.5 percent to $3.80. The stock has dropped 12 percent so far this year, after its 210 percent gain through 2017 saw it jump into the benchmark index, replacing Xero. 

"The stock will ebb and flow based on sometimes rather thin fundamentals - it's just coming back to the market rather than anything else," Davies said. "It's on reasonable volumes, but I don't think investors have anything to worry about with Pushpay."

Metro Performance Glass fell 2.1 percent to 93 cents and Chorus dropped 1.2 percent to $4.09. 


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