Market close: NZ sharemarket loses steam for second consecutive day

Investors had plenty to mull over as the New Zealand sharemarket lost steam for the second day running – though fast food operator Restaurant Brands continues to power along.

The S&P/NZX 50 Index was down 48.52 points or 0.38 per cent to 12,671.16, after falling the afternoon from a high of 12,744.37.

There were 58 gainers and 74 decliners over the whole market, and trading was steady with 36.98 million shares worth $159.91 million changing hands.

Mark Lister, head of private wealth research at Craigs Investment Partners, said the market was held back by the Reserve Bank move to stop its bond buying programme and by mixed leads from overseas.

“The high dividend stocks will be suffering – what they have in common is that they do well when interest rates fall. But the indications are that the rates will soon start rising.

“The Chinese June quarter gross domestic product growth of 7.9 per cent was a little softer than people expected, and the latest Covid outbreak in Australia seems to be getting worse than better. There are a few factors weighing on the market,” Lister said.

Dividend stocks Chorus fell 17c or 2.69 per cent to $6.15; Spark decreased 5c to $4.79; Meridian Energy was down 7c to $5.30; Mercury slipped 8c to $6.55; Goodman Property Trust declined 2.5c to $2.38; and Argosy Property shed 3c or 1.8 per cent to $1.64.

Restaurant Brands continued its strong run, rising 40c or 2.57 per cent to $15.95 and having risen 10 per cent in the past fortnight and 40 per cent this year – whereas the leading index is down 3 per cent for the year. Restaurant Brands was at $11.35 on January 5.

“There’s good money in KFC,” said Lister. “Restaurant Brands has shown it is recession proof as people still like fast foods.”

Fletcher Building increased 8c to $7.29; Serko was up 9c to $7.40; Pushpay Holdings gained 3c to $1.81; Turners Automotive recovered 15c or 3.64 per cent to $4.27; and AFT Pharmaceuticals, expanding its distribution of Maxigesic pain relief medicines around the world, rose 10c or 2.22 per cent to $4.60.

Mainfreight has appointed Jason Braid, formerly head of the Europe Air and Ocean division, as regional manager for the Americas, replacing John Hepworth who is retiring at the end of September. Mainfreight’s share price rose $1.62 or 2.13 per cent to $77.80.

In its first quarter update to the end of June, Trustpower had steady customer sales of 809GWh and generation of 432GWh. The gentailer said national hydro storage had recovered to 85 per cent of average, and wholesale pricing remained strong. Trustpower’s share price fell 3c to $8.10.

EROAD climbed 18c or 2.93 per cent to $6.33 after telling the market it has raised $64.4m through a placement at $5.58 a share to help buy Auckland-based telematics firm, Coretex.

Rural services firm PGG Wrightson was up 4c to $3.40; and Green Cross Health increased 3c or 2.61 per cent to $1.18.

Among the decliners, a2 Milk’s recent run stalled and fell 23c or 3.03 per cent to $7.35; Ebos Group was down 78c or 2.4 per cent to $31.72; Summerset Group Holdings decreased 15c to $3.40; Delegat Group declined 14c to $14.31; and Rakon decreased 3c or 3.13 per cent to 93c.

Port companies Port of Tauranga was down 7c to $6.75, and Napier Port shed 5 to $3.37.

SkyCity Entertainment fell 5c to $3.37. The casino and hotel operator had earlier told the market it included a buffer for completing the New Zealand International Convention Centre from January 2025 to December 2027, even though Fletcher Construction has indicated it will be finished in late 2024.

Precinct Properties told the market it had completed the purchase of the 15-level Wellington Freyberg Building for $49m, and its share price slipped 1.5c to $1.66.

DGL Group, busy on the acquisition front, has bought a chemical facility in Townsville for $2.45m. DGL leased the property as a storage hub and will convert it to a chemicals formulation and distribution facility. Its share price fell 6c or 4.08 per cent to $1.41.

ArborGen Holdings, a global leader in tree improvement technology, rose 1c or 3.45 per cent to 30c after making an investor presentation that showed strong growth. ArborGen increased its operating earnings (ebitda) forecast for the 2022 financial year to $13m-$14.5m. It has 18 seedling nurseries, 13 seed-producing orchards, and production capacity of 540 million seedlings, servicing more than 2000 customers each year in United States South, Brazil, Australia and New Zealand.

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