Market close: Mainfreight provides pick-me-up for flat market

Successful transport and logistics operator Mainfreight provided a pick-me-up for a flat New Zealand sharemarket with another impressive financial result and continuing global growth.

Mainfreight, has a 100-year vision and knows where it’s going, but the S&P/NZX 50 Index again struggled, fluctuating throughout the day between a low of 13,007.07 and 13,068.25 points. The index closed at 13,026.91, up 4.45 points or 0.03 per cent.

There were 58 gainers and 76 decliners across the whole market and trading was light with 34.85 million shares worth $138.54 million changing hands.

Mainfreight rose $2.51 or 2.76 per cent to $93.50, and should once head towards the milestone $100 a share based on the latest earnings performance. Goodman Property Trust also chimed in with a solid half-year result, increasing 3c to $2.48.

Mainfreight reported a 79.4 per cent rise in net profit to $130.81m on revenue of $2.274 billion, up 41.4 per cent, for the six months ending September. All five regions taking in 26 countries had strong revenue increases, and the Air & Ocean division was a star performer, with revenue rising 72.2 per cent to $1.115b and gross profit surging 202.8 per cent to $86.89m.

It is paying an interim dividend of 55c a share on December 17. Mainfreight said trading post the half-year has seen a continuation of current financial and volume trends – at times significantly ahead of the prior year. The company is benefiting from increased consumer demand, market share activity, and elevated international shipping and airfreight rates.

Dan Stratful, investment adviser with Forsyth Barr, said “whichever way you look at it, Mainfreight has produced another strong result all-round.

“Every region and division is performing incredibly well, with United States and Asia growing steadily. The momentum has continued into October and November and it looks like Mainfreight will have another record full-year result – it’s incredible, really.

“It’s just a well-run company with good culture, and it is just a matter of time before its share prices pushes through the $100 mark,” Stratful said. “I think you will see some analysts’ upgrades on this result.”

Goodman Property Trust reported net profit of $555.5m, up 215 per cent, for the six months ending September. This included the portfolio revaluation gain of $504.7m. The trust’s revenue was up 7.8 per cent to $94.1m, and operating earnings increased 7.5 per cent to $60.2m. Its industrial property portfolio is worth $4.3 billion.

Stratful said “the result confirmed what we already know – industrial is the best performing of commercial property; it beats retail hands down. Goodman has a strong development pipeline and there’s good (leasing) demand for industrial property.”

There was further pressure on high-yielding dividend stocks as inflation continues to rise in the United States, and the leading indices on Wall Street snapped their strong rally.

The October consumer price index increased 0.9 per cent and produced a yearly rise of 6.2 per cent – the biggest annual jump in more than 30 years. Economists had estimated a rise of 5.9 per cent,

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.66 per cent to 36,106.4; S&P 500 declined 0.82 per cent to 4646.71; and the technology-laden Nasdaq Composite fell 1.66 per cent to 15,622.7.

At home, dividend stocks Spark was down 3c to $4.56; Contact Energy declined 5c to $7.86; Meridian decreased 3.5c to $4.83; and Investore fell 4c or 2.11 per cent to $1.86.

Market leader Fisher and Paykel Healthcare was up 13c to $31.93; Mercury Energy collected 7c to $6.06; Delegat Group rose 30c or 2.07 per cent to $14.80; Skellerup Holdings gained 16c or 2.53 per cent to $6.48, and Gentrack increased 6c or 3.28 per cent to $1.89.

Marsden Maritime Holdings climbed 16c or 2.55 per cent to $6.43; Move Logistics was up 5c or 2.94 per cent to $1.75; and Marlin Global fund increased 3c or 1.97 per cent to $1.55.

NZX has bought the management rights of the ASB Superannuation Master Trust, with more than $1.8b in retirement savings and 17,500 members, for $25m, and will add $4m-$4.3m annually to operating earnings. The purchase will grow the Smartshares passive funds business, and NZX’s share price was unchanged at $1.76.

Scales Corporation fell 22c or 3.99 per cent to $5.30; a2 Milk declined 4c to $6.39; Synlait decreased 3c to $3.35; and SkyCity Entertainment fell 5c to $3.17.

The Warehouse Group shed 7c to $4.05; EROAD fell 12c or 2.28 per cent to $5.15; Rakon declined 4c or 2.63 per cent to $1.48; and Enprise Group lost 10c or 5.38 per cent to $1.76.

Auckland International Airport, which is making a $150m five-year bond offer with interest rate of 3.29 per cent, was down 1c to $8.24.

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