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The Markets

Defensive stocks remain attractive in an uncertain global environment

New Zealand shares edged up as defensive stocks such as utilities remained attractive to investors in an uncertain global environment. Restaurant Brands New Zealand rose as its suitor declared a partial takeover unconditional.

Tuesday, March 12th 2019, 5:57PM

by BusinessDesk

The S&P/NZX 50 Index increased 6.4 points, or 0.1 percent, to 9,397.25. Within the index, 21 stocks rose, 21 fell, and eight were unchanged. Turnover was $159.9 million.

The benchmark index remained underpinned by companies held for their reliable earnings and dividends. Chorus rose 1.5 percent to a record close of $5.58 on a bigger than normal volume of 1.5 million shares. Contact Energy increased 0.5 percent to $6.48 on a volume of 2.3 million and Mercury NZ was up 0.8 percent at $3.70 on a bigger than usual 803,000 shares.

"The same themes have been playing out for the last couple of weeks," said Rickey Ward, New Zealand equities manager at JBWere. "It doesn't suggest that people are frightened, they're just a little bit wary."

Sky Network Television led the market higher, up 4 percent at $1.30, having hit an all-time low yesterday. The pay-TV operator's volume of 3 million was more than its 594,000 90-day average.

Fletcher Building was another that recovered from a recent sell-off, gaining 1.9 percent at $4.77. The 521,000 shares that changed hands were less than a third of its average volume. Ward said Fletcher's indication that it may re-enter vertical construction has raised concerns among some investors, given the losses on its Building + Interiors division in recent years.

Restaurant Brands gained 0.6 percent at $8.80. The fast food operator's Mexican suitor, Finaccess Capital, declared its partial takeover bid at $9.45 unconditional and has another 10 working days to hit its 75 percent target. Finaccess has secured about 62 percent acceptances.

Outside the benchmark index, Methven shareholders approved a $1.60 a share takeover offer by ASX-listed GWA Group. The shares rose 0.6 percent to $1.63, with the board set to declare an interim dividend of 4.69 cents per share now shareholders have supported the deal.

Trade Me Group increased 0.3 percent to $6.40. The online marketplace is also under a takeover offer, with shareholders to vote next month.

Spark New Zealand was the most traded stock today with 9.2 million shares changing hands, almost twice its three-monthly average. The shares decreased 0.1 percent to $3.74.

SkyCity Entertainment Group was unchanged at $3.76 on a volume of 3.9 million shares, seven-times its average. Air New Zealand decreased 1 percent to $2.50 on a volume of 2 million.

Of other stocks trading on volumes of more than a million shares, Auckland International Airport rose 0.8 percent to $7.71, Meridian Energy was unchanged at $3.805, and Kiwi Property Group decreased 0.4 percent to $1.42.

Gentrack Group posted the biggest decline, down 3 percent at $4.61 on a smaller than usual volume of 28,000.

Precinct Properties New Zealand was down 2.5 percent, or 4 cents, at $1.545 after shedding rights to a 1.5 cent dividend, while Argosy Property was down 2.3 percent, or 3 cents, at $1.255, giving up rights to a 1.56 cent dividend.

Moa Group rose 2.3 percent to 44 after shareholders agreed to the proposed acquisition of Savor Group restaurants for cash and shares. The successful vote also means Moa will raise up to $3 million in a 1-for-11 rights issue at 38 cents a share.

Tags: Market Close

« NZ shares decline as global uncertainty weighs; Sky TV hits lowUncertainty over Britain's exit from the European Union keeps investors on edge »

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ANZ 5.69 4.39 4.45 4.55
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Last updated: 20 May 2019 9:09am

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