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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares taper off in strong June qtr; Summerset, Ebos fall; Westpac gains

Friday 29th June 2018

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New Zealand shares ran out of puff in the final day of the June quarter, which has been the strongest quarterly performance in more than two years. Summerset Group Holdings and Ebos Group declined and Westpac Banking Corp gained.

The S&P/NZX 50 index fell 55.66 points, or 0.6 percent, to 8,943.13. Within the index, 29 stocks declined, 11 gained and 10 were unchanged. Turnover was $176 million.

The benchmark index ended the quarter on a down note, although it still managed to finish its strongest three-month run since late 2015 with an 8 percent quarterly gain. During that period, the NZX50 touched new records but failed to close above 9,000.

Grant Williamson, a director at Hamilton Hindin Greene in Christchurch, said New Zealand's market turned around after a lacklustre first quarter in a widespread gain spanning both growth-orientated stocks and defensive utility-type yield investments.

"After the first quarter of 2018 we thought this is going to be a tough year, but what a turnaround we've seen this quarter," he said. "Any losses experienced in the first quarter are more than taken care of."

Synlait Milk was the best performer in the quarter, jumping 37 percent to $11.44, while Kathmandu Holdings climbed 21 percent to $2.91, after delivering upbeat earnings guidance. The stocks fell 0.5 percent and 1.7 percent today, respectively.

Ebos was the worst performer today, down 2.5 percent to $17.95, ending the quarter up 0.1 percent, while Summerset fell 2.2 percent to $7.65, trimming its quarterly gain to 9.9 percent.

Fletcher Building declined 0.7 percent to $6.95 after selling its stake in the Sims Pacific Metals recycling unit to partner Sims Metal Management for $42 million.

Precinct Properties New Zealand fell 1.5 percent to $1.35 after the real estate investor sold its share in Auckland's ANZ Centre for $181 million.

New Zealand Refining dropped 1.2 percent to $2.44 after the refinery operator said the hydrocracker leak will cost it $5 million-to-$7 million, and will resume production of on-specification fuels from the middle of next week.

Gentrack declined 1.5 percent to $7.12 after the utilities software developer said some contracts close to being finalised will add to earnings in the September 2019 year.

NZX slipped 0.9 percent to $1.13 after attracting a new issuer to the debt market. Lines company WEL Networks plans to sell up to $150 million of five-year bonds, listing them in August.

Spark New Zealand dropped 1.1 percent to $3.73, Auckland International Airport declined 1.3 percent to $6.78 and a2 Milk fell 1.7 percent to $11.46.

The dual-listed banks gained, with Westpac the best performer on the index, up 1.8 percent to $32.10 and Australia & New Zealand Banking Group rising 0.3 percent to $30.99.

Fonterra Shareholders Fund units rose 1.7 percent to $5.44 while Mainfreight advanced 1 percent to $27.80.

Exporters Comvita and Sanford benefitted from a weaker currency as the kiwi hit a two-year low, gaining 0.7 percent to $5.89 and 0.3 percent to $7.68 respectively.

Outside the benchmark index, Smiths City Group sank 7.1 percent to 39 cents after reporting a bigger trading loss than forecast and suspended dividend payments. 

(BusinessDesk)

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