New Zealand shares followed Wall Street higher as global events remain top of mind for investors, underpinning growth stock A2 Milk Co and blue-chip firms such as Spark New Zealand and Fletcher Building.
The S&P/NZX 50 index increased 11.45 points, or 0.1 percent, to 8,673.82. Within the index, 16 stocks gained, 25 fell and nine were unchanged. Turnover was $136.3 million.
Stocks across Asia largely followed Wall Street’s cues as the outlook for US interest rates and trade tensions between the US and China overshadow domestic news. Speeches by Federal Reserve vice chair Richard Clarida and chair Jerome Powell, and a meeting between US President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the G20 leaders’ meeting are keenly awaited.
“There’s no shortage of big stories and key events overseas – the US is highly important as always,” said Mark Lister, head of private wealth research at Craigs Investment Partners. “People are very nervous about those couple of events because they could go very well in terms of market reaction or they could not go so well.”
A2 led the market higher, up 2 percent to $10.40 on lighter volumes than usual, while Ryman Healthcare rose 1.6 percent to $11.21 on average volumes.
Fisher & Paykel Healthcare extended its gain, up 1.1 percent to $13.45. The breathing apparatus maker reported a 20 percent increase in first-half profit yesterday, which Lister said was a solid result that investors liked.
Trade Me was the most traded stock with 3.4 million shares changing hands, compared to its 90-day average of 450,000. The price was unchanged at $6, below the $6.40 price British private equity firm Apax Partners has put forward as an indicative offer.
Fletcher Building rose 0.6 percent to $4.69 on volumes of 3.2 million as it recovers from a 14-year low, while Spark New Zealand gained 0.9 percent to $4.12 on volumes of 3 million. Auckland International Airport increased 0.1 percent on 2.3 million shares, more than twice its average.
Precinct Properties New Zealand was unchanged at $1.42 on volumes of 1.4 million, twice its average.
Sky Network Television dropped 7.1 percent to $2.23, the biggest decline on the day in light trading. The pay-TV operator gave up yesterday’s gain when it unveiled incoming CEO Martin Stewart.
Synlait Milk decreased 2.3 percent to $8.43 on very small volumes ahead of tomorrow’s annual meeting. Genesis Energy fell 2.2 percent to $2.40 on average volumes.
Arvida Group rose 0.8 percent to $1.31 after reporting a 45 percent increase in first-half underlying earnings. The retirement village operator said the result was boosted by a strong occupancy rate and buoyed by good resale margins.
Fonterra Shareholders’ Fund units decreased 0.2 percent to $4.66 after Fonterra’s head of consumer and foodservice Lukas Parivicini announced his departure from January.
Outside the benchmark index, Turners Automotive sank 7.7 percent to $2.51 after reporting a 28 percent increase in first-half profit and warning of slowing demand for vehicles.
Green Cross Health was unchanged at $1.19 after reporting a 7.1 percent fall in first-half profit as the government’s pay equity settlement for aged and homecare workers didn’t fully fund the firm’s increased cost.
Tilt Renewables gained 0.4 percent to $2.32, more than the $2.30 price an Infratil and Mercury NZ joint venture is offering to take it private. Infratil today said it’s secured 85 percent and urged the remaining minority shareholders to sell. Infratil decreased 0.4 percent to $3.495 and Mercury dipped 0.3 percent to $3.43.
WEL Networks almost doubled first-half profit as its expanding fibre business boosted revenue and a growing population in Waikato supported residential electricity lines connections. The community trust-owned company has $150 million of listed bonds maturing in 2023 and paying annual interest of 4.9 percent. A small volume traded today unchanged at a yield of 4.3 percent.