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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares rise as Skellerup posts record profit

Thursday 16th August 2018

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New Zealand shares rose, led higher by a record profit from Skellerup Holdings, as investors focused more on domestic earnings than volatility in global markets. Precinct Properties New Zealand also gained. 

The S&P/NZX 50 index increased 11.42 points, or 0.1 percent, to 8,8998.91. Within the index, 25 stocks gained, 20 fell, and five were unchanged. Turnover was $142.3 million. 

"Wall Street lost some ground and there's some nervousness overseas, but that hasn't rubbed off on the local market or Australia to that degree," Grant Williamson, a director at Hamilton Hindin Greene in Christchurch, said. "We're more focused on our reporting season." 

Skellerup rose as high as $2.12, ending the day at $2.09. Its 4 percent gain was the biggest in the benchmark index. The rubber goods maker boosted annual profit 23 percent to a record $27.3 million and raised its dividend. 

"Skellerup came out with a cracker result this morning - that was a very good result and we had the share price at a record level on the higher dividend and increased earnings," Williamson said. 

Precinct gained 1.8 percent to $1.415 after the real estate investor forecast a higher dividend and increased earnings in the 2019 financial year. It reported a profit of $254.9 million on a large revaluation gain. 

Williamson said Precinct's result was also "pretty good", although the predictability in property firms meant investors focused on the dividend. 

Blue chip stocks were among today's gainers. Fletcher Building rose 1 percent to $6.90, Contact Energy advanced 0.9 percent to $5.81, Spark New Zealand increased 0.8 percent to $3.925, Auckland International Airport gained 0.7 percent at $6.81, and Fisher & Paykel Healthcare was up 0.7 percent to $14.96. 

Fonterra Shareholders' Fund units rose 0.6 percent to $4.88. They hit a three-year low earlier this week after chief executive Theo Spierings' exit was accelerated and Miles Hurrell was installed as interim CEO immediately. 

Williamson said people are "a little disillusioned" with the fund with Fonterra typically favouring its farmer-shareholders over the unitholders. 

Synlait Milk fell 2.1 percent to $10.95, snapping two days of gains and posting the biggest decline for the day. A2 Milk Co dropped 1.8 percent to $10.82 after First NZ Capital lowered its rating on the stock to 'neutral' from 'outperform', saying it needed more evidence to support the milk marketing firm's growth aspirations. 

SkyCity Entertainment Group fell 0.5 percent to $4.15. Sumitomo Mitsui Trust, which owns fund manager Nikko Asset Management, increased its stake in the casino operator to 6.2 percent. 

Outside the benchmark index, Pacific Edge rose 4.8 percent to 33 cents. The bladder cancer test maker today said another district health board will use its Cx bladder test and told shareholders it will update 2019 guidance later this year. 

(BusinessDesk)

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