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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares fall as Pushpay, Fletcher drop; Summerset gains on new village

Tuesday 7th August 2018

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New Zealand shares fell, led lower by ongoing weakness in Pushpay Holdings and as construction sector fears weigh on Fletcher Building, while Summerset Group Holdings gained.

The S&P/NZX 50 Index dropped 27.4 points, or 0.3 percent, to 8,875.73. Within the index, 25 stocks fell, 15 rose and 10 were unchanged. Turnover was $124.8 million.

Pushpay led the index lower, down 3.7 percent to $3.70. The stock has dropped 10.8 percent since Aug. 1, when the company delivered first-quarter revenue within guidance and reshuffled its senior management after another abrupt executive exit.

"Certainly since their announcement they've traded lower, obviously it disappointed the market somewhat and has put the share price under a wee bit of pressure," said Grant Williamson, broker at Hamilton Hindin Greene.

Fletcher Building fell 2 percent to $6.90 as policymakers continue to grapple with skinny margins in the wider construction sector. Freightways dropped 1.9 percent to $7.75 and Port of Tauranga declined 1.8 percent to $4.85.

SkyCity Entertainment Group fell 1.2 percent to $3.98 ahead of tomorrow's earnings announcement, which is generally regarded as the start of the season. 

The major story of the day was outside the benchmark index, with Steel & Tube Holdings in a trading halt at $1.46. The steel supplier, whose shares have lost almost a third of their value this year, plans to raise about $80.9 million at a steep discount to repay debt and strengthen its balance sheet as it restructures its business under new management.

The company has been reviewing its business under the guidance of a refreshed board and new chief executive Mark Malpass. It expects to post a loss in the 2018 financial year and won't pay a dividend, but said the result would be slightly ahead of its previous expectation as legacy issues uncovered during the review have been addressed and improvements were now being seen. 

"Obviously that company has struck a few issues over the last year or so and shareholders will be extremely disappointed because there's no dividend coming up, when it has always been considered a dividend stock," Williamson said. "A fair amount of blame is on the management, and to have a heavily discounted cash issue will weigh on the share price when the stock starts trading again." 

Summerset was the best performer, up 1.2 percent to $7.69. It has purchased land to develop its second New Plymouth retirement village as it remains on track to build 450 retirements units across its New Zealand villages this year. Summerset currently has 23 villages completed or in development across the country, housing more than 5,000 residents.

Kiwi Property Group rose 1.1 percent to $1.365 and Stride Property gained 1.1 percent to $1.87.

NZX rose 0.9 percent to $1.09. The stock market operator will recognise an $800,000 charge on the sale of its remaining agri businesses to GlobalHQ, which recently bought the Farmers Weekly publication. 

The Wellington-based company will close its Feilding office after selling the red meat and forestry components of AgriHQ to for an undisclosed sum, it said in a statement. GlobalHQ, owned by rural publishers Dean and Cushla Williamson, will take on 10 staff and nine casuals. 

Also in a halt outside the index was Serko, at $2.84. The Auckland-based online travel booking software developer plans to raise $15 million selling shares at a 3.2 percent discount to institutional investors to speed up its growth trajectory, having already raised revenue guidance. 

It will sell 5.5 million shares, or about 7.3 percent of the company, at $2.75 apiece to investors in a fully underwritten placement. The announcement comes just a week after Serko raised its revenue expectations for the year ending March 31, 2019, for sales growth of 20-to-30 percent on 2018's $18.3 million. It had previously predicted sales growth of 15-to-30 percent. 

(BusinessDesk)

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