Market close: NZ sharemarket edges up as investors await Federal Reserve decision

Leading stocks provided the New Zealand sharemarket with a positive trading day – but it is still looking over its shoulder for direction from further international developments.

The S&P/NZX 50 Index gained 38.85 points or 0.29 per cent to 13,215.80, after reaching a morning low of 13,143.77.

There were 73 gainers and 64 decliners across the whole market on light volume of 30 million share transactions worth $146 million.

The Evergrande crisis settled – the Chinese property giant owes US$300 billion ($428b) – when its core Hengda Real Estate unit said it will this week make payments on offshore bonds.

All eyes are now on the US Federal Reserve’s latest statement following its two-day policy meeting.

Mark Lister, head of private wealth research with Craigs Investment Partners, said “I don’t think the Fed will make any changes to its (present) monetary policy, but investors will be looking for a timeline when it will start tapering its quantitative easing and interest rates start rising.

“The Federal Reserve does set the tone for world financial markets and its latest stance will dictate the next trading session for New Zealand,” he said.

“Our market is in a holding pattern with a vacuum of corporate news and our Reserve Bank meeting two weeks away – and we are at the mercy of global events and sentiment.

“I don’t think the Evergrande story is over yet – it’s an ugly situation – but the markets were more comforted by news of the payment and the China Central Bank lending support by adding liquidity to the financial system,” Lister said.

Market leader Fisher and Paykel Healthcare was up 29c to $33.04 on trade worth $25.57m; Auckland International Airport increased 11c to $7.68; Mainfreight climbed $1.52 to $93.92; Freightways gained 17c to $12.82; Hallenstein Glasson increased 17c or 2.45 per cent to $7.10; and Delegat Group was up 24c to $14.44.

Synlait picked up 12c or 3.8 per cent to $3.28, and a2 Milk increased 11c or 1.99 per cent to $5.64.

Ebos Group has appointed Colgate-Palmolive’s Julie Dillon as the chief executive of its animal care business, and its share price increased 40c to $35.80.

Port of Tauranga was down 18c or 2.49 per cent to $7.05, but South Port New Zealand rose 16c to $9.15.

Skellerup Holdings gained 7c to $5.49; Chorus was up 8c to $6.59; Scales Corporation increased 8c to $5.38; Just Life Group collected 3c or 3.45 per cent to 90c; and Kathmandu Holdings rose 4c or 2.74 per cent to $1.50 following its strong annual result.

Trustpower told shareholders at the annual meeting that its new name will be Manawa Energy (meaning heart) following the sale of its retail business to Mercury – the established name goes with the sale which is expected to be completed on February 1. The move was approved by the shareholders.

Manawa will concentrate on expanding its renewable energy generation, with New Zealand needing to grow its electricity generation 70 per cent by 2050 to meet Climate Change commitments. Trustpower’s share price was up 6c to $7.49, and Mercury Energy fell 10c to $6.50.

Ryman Healthcare fell 38c or 2.53 per cent to $14.66, and Restaurant Brands was down 25c to $15.55.

Insurer Tower declined 1.5c or 2.19 per cent to 67c after downgrading its net profit for the year ending September to $19m-$21m, from $22m-$24m because of increased large house claims including four total loss fires. The 97 claims totalling $21.3m is nearly double the amount compared with the 2020 financial year, when 56 large house claims totalled $10.4m.

Other decliners were Heartland Group Holdings, down 6c or 2.58 per cent to $2.27; Bremworth shedding 7c or 9.72 per cent to 65c; NZ Automotive Investments falling 9c or 9.09 per cent to 90c; My Food Bag decreasing 4c or 2.84 per cent to $1.37; and EROAD down 10c to $5.66.

DGL Group was up 11c or 4.06 per cent to $2.82 after telling the market it has bought Aquapac for $8m. Aquapac supplies water treatment chemicals to customers in Australia and overseas.

AFT Pharmaceuticals was down 3c to $4.14 after earlier announcing it has obtained regulatory approval for its Maxigesic pain relief medicine to be used intravenously in South Korea and Panama and in tablet form in Chile and Peru.

Two senior leaders Richard Mather and Stephen Owles are leaving Move Logistics following a reorganisation of the business by new executive director Chris Dunphy. Move’s share price was unchanged at $1.48.

Good Spirits Hospitality fell 0.003c or 4.29 per cent to 6.7c after telling the market that the landlord will not be renewing the lease for its O’Hagan’s Irish Bar and Restaurant in the Auckland Viaduct after December. Good Spirits is continuing to talk with the landlord.

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