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NZ shares fall as US-China trade concerns weigh on markets; Ryman slips

New Zealand shares joined the lull across Asia-Pacific markets as investors grow increasingly pessimistic about China-US trade relations. Ryman Healthcare fell on disappointment that its earnings forecast wasn't stronger.

Thursday, November 21st 2019, 6:14PM

by BusinessDesk

The S&P/NZX 50 Index declined 17.33 points, or 0.2 percent, to 10,958.16. Within the index, 35 stocks fell, 11 rose, and four were unchanged. Turnover was $152.7 million.

Stocks across Asia were weaker on fears an initial trade deal between China and the US would slip into next year. Investors had hoped it would be done in early November. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index fell 0.8 percent in afternoon trading, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng was down 1.6 percent and Singapore's Straits Times Index declined 0.9 percent.

"Asian markets are off a bit more than we are. We're holding up reasonably well in comparison. There were negative leads out of the US with people a bit wary around what happens next in the Trump administration," said Grant Davies, an investment adviser at Hamilton Hindin Greene.

Ryman Healthcare fell 0.7 percent to $14.24. The country’s biggest retirement village operator and developer today reported an 11.1 percent increase in profit, bolstered by unrealised gains on the value of its property portfolio. Underlying profit rose 6.2 percent and it signalled annual earnings would rise by as much as 17 percent.

Davies said the result was solid, but that guidance was at the bottom end of the range analysts were predicting.

“There’s potential for some analysts to adjust their numbers down slightly,” he said.

The result came a day after rival Metlifecare said it had been approached by a credible bidder with a sub-par, highly conditional indicative takeover offer. The board said it has started discussions with the would-be buyer. The shares rose 1.2 percent to $5.80.

Summerset Group declined 0.4 percent to $7.40 and Arvida Group was down 1.2 percent at $1.59.

Sky Network Television led the market lower, sliding 6 percent to a record-low 79 cents. Some 685,000 shares changed hands, less than its 90-day average of 1.1 million.

Westpac Banking Corp fell 2.9 percent to $26.63, extending its decline after it was yesterday accused of breaching Australian laws to prevent money laundering and terrorism financing. Australia & New Zealand Banking Group was down 1.2 percent at $26.30.

Trustpower fell 4.5 percent, or 34 cents, to $7.34 after shedding rights to a 17-cent dividend. Z Energy was down 3.6 percent, or 19 cents, having given up rights to a 16.5-cent dividend.

Contact Energy was the most traded stock on a volume of 4.4 million shares, well up on its 1.2 million average. It rose 2.5 percent to $6.85.

Meridian Energy declined 0.7 percent to $4.32 with 3.5 million shares traded and Kiwi Property decreased 0.3 percent to $1.545 on a volume of 3.1 million.

Of other stocks trading on volumes of more than a million shares, Spark New Zealand was unchanged at $4.47, Mercury NZ fell 1.5 percent to $4.70, Goodman Property Trust declined 1 percent to $2.085 and Fletcher Building rose 0.6 percent to $5.23.

Port of Tauranga was up 0.8 percent at $6.50 with 325,000 shares traded, more than twice its 137,000 average. Rival Ports of Auckland today released critiques of analysis that supported plans to shift the city’s port operations to Northport near Whangarei.

Outside the benchmark index, Northport shareholder Marsden Maritime Holdings fell 1.2 percent to $6.90, Napier Port was down 1.8 percent at $3.36 and South Port New Zealand increased 0.4 percent to $6.94.

Pacific Edge shares were halted at 16.5 cents after the bladder cancer test maker reported a wider first-half loss and said it planned to raise another $20 million to tide it over until it started breaking even on a cash flow basis. Of that, $7 million would be raised in a placement at 15 cents, and the remainder in a renounceable rights issue at 10 cents apiece.

“There have been a number of times where it looked like the last capital raising with promises of cash-flow break even and revenue improvements just around the corner,” Davies said.

“Shareholders will need to either plug more cash in or sell their rights.”

AFT Pharmaceutical rose 2.7 percent to $3.08 after it reported first-half revenue growth of 22 percent and a net profit of $9.9 million, due largely to a one-off gain from absorbing full ownership of a joint venture.

Tags: Market Close

« NZ shares rise; Metlife jumps on takeover talkGentrack sinks on profit warning; NZ shares fall overall »

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