Market close: NZ shares drift as market looks towards earnings

The New Zealand sharemarket started the week with some of the Monday blues as it drifted for most of the day – but jeweller Michael Hill International brought some sparkle by continuing a good run.

The S&P/NZX 50 Index was down 21.06 points or 0.17 per cent to 12,652.09 on light trading, but it did recover quickly from a lunchtime fall to 12,614.05.

There were 52 gainers and 84 decliners over the whole market of 186 stocks, with 28.68 million shares worth $105.49 million changing hands.

Jeremy Sullivan, investment adviser with Hamilton Hindin Greene, said the market had priced in interest rate rises as early as next month, and it was also looking forward to the latest earnings season.

“We may see some stocks move around before the reporting in August – that’s when you get the major shocks under the continuous disclosure requirements,” he said.

There was nothing uncertain about Michael Hill International which operates more than 230 stores in New Zealand, Australia and Canada. Michael Hill increased 4c or 4.3 per cent to 97c and has risen more than 11 per cent in two days after announcing strong fourth-quarter sales.

Market leader Fisher and Paykel Healthcare was up strongly, rising 43c to $30.88 on trade worth $10m; Freightways put on 12c to $12.55; Skellerup Holdings gained 5c to $4.837; and Port of Tauranga was up 10c to $6.80.

Dividend stock Chorus was down 11.5c or 1.83 per cent to $6.185; Fletcher Building fell 13c or 1.78 per cent to $7.16; Auckland International Airport declined 5.5c to $7.495; Pushpay Holdings decreased 3c to $1.76; Summerset Group Holdings shed 13c to $13.25; and Synlait Milk was down 11c or 2.83 per cent to $3.78.

Re-opening stocks SkyCity Entertainment fell 10c or 2.94 per cent to $3.30; and Tourism Holdings was down 9c or 3.64 per cent to $2.38.

Contact Energy fell 18c or 2.16 per cent to $8.17 after reporting a slight decrease in sales for June. Mass market electricity and gas sales were 422GWh compared with 447GWh in the same month last year, and net return was $96.23 per MWh, down from $101.03. South Island hydro storage reached 96 per cent of average at July 13.

Trustpower lost 18c or 2.66 per cent to $7.80, and Meridian was up 5.5c to $5.34.

Property companies Vital Healthcare increased 2c to $3.25; Argosy was up 1.5c to $1.635 – these two stocks are being tipped to enter the FTSE EPRA Global Real Estate Index in September. Investore gained 2c to $2.03; and Precinct Properties was down 2.5c to $1.67.

Z Energy gained 2c to $2.85 after announcing an upbeat first quarter, with retail fuel volumes rising 51.5 per cent, commercial 24.7 per cent and convenience stores sales increasing 14.3 per cent compared with the previous corresponding period. The service station operator confirmed 2022 financial year operating earnings (Ebitdaf) at $270m-$310m, and dividends of 19-23 cents a share.

The farmers have spoken and Fonterra is considering some changes to the capital re-structure including setting the minimum shareholding at 33 per cent of milk supply, or 1 share per 3kg of milk solids, instead of 25 per cent or 1 share per 4kg. Share and contract milkers would also hold shares if the co-op moved permanently to a farmer-only market. The Fonterra Shareholders’ Fund was down 1c to $3.73.

Sullivan said the minimum shareholding meant farmers could free up capital to put back into the farm and it will be a welcome bit of liquidity for them.

Other decliners were Delegat Group, down 15c to $14.20; AMP declining 2c to $1.15; Napier Port losing 12c or 3.6 per cent to $3.21; South Port New Zealand falling 22c or 2.75 per cent to $7.77; Radius Residential Care shedding 5c or 5.68 per cent to 83c; and Evolve Education decreasing 6c or 6.1 per cent to 77c.

Other gainers were carpet maker NZ Automotive Investments increasing 4c or 3.33 per cent to $1.16; Rakon picking up 2c or 2.15 per cent to 95c; Smartpay Holdings collecting 2.5c or 3.01 per cent to 85.5c; and Rua Bioscience gaining 1.5c or 3.7 per cent to 42c.

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