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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares rise; Air NZ, Heartland and A2 gain

Wednesday 14th June 2017

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New Zealand shares rose, led by Air New Zealand, Heartland Bank and A2 Milk Co.

The S&P/NZX 50 Index gained 43.91 points, or 0.6 percent, to 7,483.99. Within the index, 33 stocks rose, 12 fell and five were unchanged. Turnover was $138 million.

Air New Zealand was the best performer, up 4.1 percent to $3.195. Australia's High Court has dismissed appeals by Air New Zealand and PT Garuda Indonesia over a 2016 ruling that agreed surcharges on cargo breached that nation's price fixing laws.

The two are the only airlines of 15 that haven't settled with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission since the Australian regulator began proceedings for price fixing on air cargo at ports outside of Australia destined for that nation. The case will go back to the Federal Court for decisions on relief, including penalties.

"It's again well-supported by the market, even with the appeal being dismissed," said Peter McIntyre, investment adviser at Craigs Investment Partners. "At this stage no-one's too clear about the costs associated with that decision, but you've seen oil prices move well below that $50 mark and that has such a big impact on Air New Zealand's earnings – they did give that upgrade to the market, it looks like it's trading on the possibility of another upgrade at some stage, and it does give a good dividend."

Heartland Bank rose 3.5 percent to $1.78, while A2 Milk Co gained 3.2 percent to $3.53 and Tourism Holdings rose 2.4 percent to $3.88.

"We've bucked the trend today, had five days of losses now we're in the green. Volumes have tended to drop off a bit, we're out of reporting season and a lot of companies have paid their dividends so buyer interest may have waned in the last couple of weeks," McIntyre said. "We've tended to be driven by news flow offshore. Overnight we have the Federal rate decision in the US, and most analysts are picking there will be a rate rise, plus we've had the UK elections outcome not clearly decided as yet. Investors have been sitting on the sidelines waiting for clarity before they start buying with any real volume."

SkyCity Entertainment Group was the worst performer, down 1.6 percent to $4.43, while Sanford dropped 1.5 percent to $6.80 and Contact Energy fell 1.2 percent to $5.11.

Outside the benchmark index, PGG Wrightson dropped 6.7 percent to 56 cents. The company warned a wet autumn sapped the performance of its seed and grain business and will weigh on annual earnings. Wrightson profit stalled in the first half as low prices for dairy and wool and reduced red meat production made farmers more cautious about spending, but the company had been more upbeat about the second half.

Eroad gained 3.7 percent to $1.67. The logistics and fleet management software developer says former senior employee Jeffrey Peter Honey is no longer employed by the company after his sentencing for insider trading yesterday. Another person involved, who has interim name suppression, still faces one charge of insider trading.

Chow Group rose 7.7 percent to 1.4 cents. The NZAX-listed vehicle controlled by John and Michael Chow said full-year profit fell about 82 percent, reflecting the impact of a year-earlier property gain, which overshadowed revenue growth in the latest 12 month period.

(BusinessDesk)



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