Sanford and Mainfreight retreated from their lofty peaks as the New Zealand sharemarket entered a consolidation phase after a strong August.
After a sharp rise in the last half hour, the S&P/NZX 50 Index had a gain of 36.98 points or 0.28 per cent to 13,280.47, hitting an intraday low of 13,193.01.
There were 83 gainers and 50 decliners over the whole market on volume of 87.26 million share transactions worth $185.39 million.
During August the index rose 4.96 per cent – the best month since November last year and for the first time since February it pushed back into positive territory with a year-to-date rise of 1 per cent.
But the local market was still well behind those offshore, the Australian ASX up more than 13 per cent year-to-date and the Americans more than 20 per cent. Overnight, the Nasdaq Composite set a new record of 15,309.38 points, up 0.33 per cent, and Apple was at a high of US$152.51 ($215.90).
Mark Lister, head of private wealth research at Craig Investment Partners, said the local market is taking a breather after a cracker month of August, and it happened despite being in lockdown for half of it.
“The good thing is the market was driven on fundamentals by better-than-expected and comforting earnings results. The sharemarket was doing its job and went up for the right reason.”
Lister said September was traditionally the worst month of the year for the market.
“There’s not a lot happening out there and you’ll find the market is cautious, will consolidate and trade sideways until there’s some new direction.
“The market will be watching what the Reserve Bank and US Federal Reserve does with monetary policy and interest rates; and also the path of the new Covid virus cases and when restrictions will ease.”
Mainfreight, falling $2.01 or 2.04 per cent to $96.51 and Sanford shedding 31c or 5.74 per cent to $5.09, dragged the local market down. South Island iwi organisation Ngai Tahu Holdings told the market it has now taken a 19.9 per cent cornerstone shareholding in the seafood company.
Market leader Fisher and Paykel Healthcare rose 59c or 1.8 per cent to $33.40; Contact Energy increased 12c to $8.30; Chorus picked up 9c to $7.18; Fletcher Building gained 6c to $7.43; and Summerset Group Holdings collected 11c to $15.40.
Synlait was up 10c or 3.1 per cent to $3.33, and a2 Milk gained 11c or 1.85 per cent to $6.05.
Lister said a2 Milk was a tough call. “All the signs from its latest result point to ongoing uncertainty but a2 Milk’s share price has fallen a long way and arguably it is getting into territory that represents long-term value.”
Retailer Briscoe Group increased 10c to $6.60; Marsden Maritime Holdings was up 10c to $6.44; South Port New Zealand rose 12c to $9.12; and Heartland Group Holdings continued its good run, rising 5c or 2.22 per cent to $2.30.
Carbon Fund gained another 5c or 2.66 per cent to $1.93; and Marlin Global fund rose 6c or 3.92 per cent to $1.59. My Food Bag collected 2c to $1.41.
Other gainers were Move Logistics, rising 9c or 5.59 per cent to $1.70; Pacific Edge, up 3c or 2.16 per cent to $1.42; NZME increasing 2c or 2.04 per cent to $1; Evolve Education picking up 2c or 2.99 per cent to 69c; Accordant Group collecting 3c or 1.85 per cent to $1.65; and Green Cross Health up 4c or 3.6 per cent to $1.15.
Blue chips Ebos Group fell 56c to $35.44 on profit-taking; Auckland International Airport decreased 5c to $7.18; and Port of Tauranga was down 4c to $7.35.
Delegat Group continued to fall, down 10c to $14; Vital Healthcare declined 15c or 4.53 per cent to $3.16; and DGL Group lost 11c to $4.44.
Refining NZ increased 3c or 3.23 per cent to 96c now that it has its three customers and distributors, BP, Mobil and Z Energy, onboard for its switch from being a refinery to a fuel import terminal.
Online marketing company Plexure Group rose 6c or 11.11 per cent to 601c after completing a A$15m ($15.6m) institutional placement for 30m shares at A50c (NZ52c) a share. The additional A$5m shareholder offer will now be underwritten.
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