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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares drop as Pushpay weakens further while Skycity gains on earnings

Wednesday 8th August 2018

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New Zealand shares fell, led lower by Pushpay Holdings' continued weakness, while Skycity Entertainment Group gained on its strong annual results.

The S&P/NZX50 Index dipped 3.64 points, or 0.04 percent, to 8,872.09. Within the index, 21 stocks fell, 20 rose and nine were unchanged. Turnover was $126.5 million.

"The market has been moving in and out of positive territory today," said Peter McIntyre, investment adviser at Craigs Investment Partners. "Weak trade data in China led the Shanghai index down but the rest of Asia seems to have shrugged that off. We have continued to trade with above-average volume." 

Pushpay Holdings led the index lower, down 4.6 percent to $3.53. The stock has dropped 15 percent since Aug. 1, when the company delivered first-quarter revenue within guidance and reshuffled its senior management after another abrupt executive exit.

"Post placement it has been significantly weaker, it just hasn't really gathered any support and has been trading lower on good volume," McIntyre said. "The guidance was within expectations but it maybe has disappointed some participants."

A2 Milk Co fell 1.4 percent to $10.40, Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Co dropped 1.2 percent to $14.63, and Fletcher Building declined 1.2 percent to $6.82.

Property For Industry dropped 1.2 percent to $1.72. It lifted its dividend as strong portfolio activity drove higher revenue. Net profit jumped but largely due to a one-off in the prior period. 

The Auckland-based company said net profit in the six months to June 30 was $29.6 million, or 5.93 cents a share, versus a loss of $5.6 million in the prior year, or 1.25 cents. It noted, however, the prior year's loss was largely due to the $42.9 million cost of buying out its management contract. 

NZX declined 0.9 percent to $1.08. It won't force off-market transactions to meet a new minimum crossing threshold as long as they improve price transparency and will go ahead with a new pricing structure from October. 

Skycity Entertainment Group was the best performer, up 2.5 percent to $4.08. It increased full-year earnings more than forecast as its high-roller business recovered and its flagship Auckland casino improved. It expects "modest growth" in earnings in the current financial year.

"The report was ahead of expectations and guidance, with international business being the main driver - it was a solid result, driven by a good fourth quarter," McIntyre said. "The dividend is unchanged, that may increase but all in all it was a pretty satisfying result for those that have invested in Skycity." 

Ryman Healthcare rose 2.1 percent to $12.59, Arvida Group gained 1.6 percent to $1.31, and Auckland International Airport advanced 1.3 percent to $6.835.

Outside the benchmark index, Steel and Tube Holdings dropped 5.5 percent to $1.38. It says it attracted several new investors in the first tranche of a deeply discounted $80.9 million capital raise.The Lower Hutt-based company sold 18.1 million shares at $1.15 apiece, raising $20.8 million

"It possibly had to [raise at a discount] to get interest from both institutions and retail investors," McIntyre said. "There is a saying that debt is cheaper than equity - but if your debt levels are high, equity can be your only option." 

(BusinessDesk)

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