Market close: NZ sharemarket has sharpest fall of the week

The New Zealand sharemarket had its sharpest fall of the week, dropping more than half a per cent as investors’ confidence waned and offshore bourses were off the boil.

The S&P/NZX 50 Index was down 84.97 points or 0.67 per cent to 12,509.84, after reaching an intraday high of 12,642.56. The index fell 0.3 per cent over the whole week, with two days of gains.

There were 44 gainers and 94 decliners over the whole market, and volume was strong for a Friday, with 60.86 million shares worth $232.3 million changing hands.

The S&P/ASX 200 Index fell 1.25 per cent to 6800.10 at 5.45pm (NZ time), and overnight the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.38 per cent to 31,493.34, S&P 500 Index declined 0.44 per cent to 3913.97 and the Nasdaq Composite shed 0.72 per cent to 13,865.35.

Greg Smith, head of research with Fat Prophets, said investor sentiment has been dented by the Auckland lockdown, the rise in long-term wholesale interest rates and the tougher loan-to-value ratios on home loans to cool the housing market.

“The Reserve Bank of New Zealand is meeting next week and there may be some caution ahead of that. There’s a lot for investors to digest at the moment, and I guess we were overdue for a pause,” he said.

“But ironically the market has lost some of its exuberance at a time when the Covid vaccine has arrived in New Zealand, and we had dividend surprises this week led by Fletcher Building. So far, the earnings picture has been good and we have a big week coming up for company results.

“I’ve no doubt the market will go up – short term interest rates are not rising in the near term – and there will be a rotation from stocks that have benefitted from the pandemic to companies that have lagged as the vaccine gets distributed,” Smith said.

The energy stocks had another sliding day. Contact was down 14c or 1.93 per cent to $7.11; Meridian fell 24c or 3.97 per cent to $5.80; Mercury slipped 16c or 2.44 per cent to $6.40; Genesis declined 7c of 1.93 per cent to $3.55; Trustpower lost 27c or 3.12 per cent to $8.38; and Tilt Renewables was down 11c to $6.39.

There was heavy trading in Auckland International Airport, with 5.32m of its shares worth $36.15m changing hands, and its share price fell 15c or 2.17 per cent to $6.75.

Freightways fell 24c or 2.16 per cent to $10.86; Ebos Group lost 20c to $29.10; Ryman Healthcare was down 70c or 4.44 per cent to $15.05; Port of Tauranga decreased 15c or 1.99 per cent to $7.39; Fletcher Building shed 6c to $6.44; Napier Port was down 8c or 2.31 per cent to $3.38; and Infratil fell 13c or 1.75 per cent to $7.28.

The blue chip stocks to rise were Fisher and Paykel Healthcare, up 55c or 1.7 per cent to $32.95; a2 Milk gaining 22c or 2.01 per cent to $11.17; and Skellerup Holdings picking up 5c to $4.20 following its strong half-year result.

Restaurant Brands increased 14c to $12.09; South Port New Zealand rose 13c to $8.89; PGG Wrightson continued a good run, climbing 8c or 2.47 per cent to $3.32; T&G Global gained 6c or 2.05 per cent to $2.98; and EROAD was up 10c or 2.43 per cent to $4.22.

Moa Group, which will be known as Savor Group on Monday, rose 0.007c or 3.63 per cent to 20c after selling its brewing operation for $1.9m to Mallbeca, a company associated with present chief executive Stephen Smith. Savor has 13 bars, restaurants and function venues in Auckland.

In the United States overnight, Reddit forum darling GameStop fell a further 11.43 per cent to US$40.69 ($56.39) after reaching a high of US$483. GameStop’s price is still up 120 per cent since January 1 and a Congressional hearing is investigating the extreme market volatility last month in the shares.

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