Iranian missiles bring market down; Burger Fuel serves last burger in Iraq

New Zealand shares joined a global sell-off as Iran’s retaliatory attack on US military bases dented investor confidence.

Wednesday, January 8th 2020, 6:04PM

by BusinessDesk

The S&P/NZX 50 Index dropped 72.88 points, or 0.6 percent, to 11,556.98. Within the index, 29 stocks fell, 15 rose, and six were unchanged. Turnover was $89.1 million.

Stocks across Asia were weaker as reports of the Iranian missile attack emerged. However, they recovered some of those losses when Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, said the attack was a proportionate response to the fatal US drone strike on senior military commander Qassem Soleimani last week and that Iran wouldn’t escalate the situation. The NZX50 fell as much as 1.2 percent during the session before bouncing back late in the day.

Acting Prime Minister Winston Peters said the missile attacks didn’t target Camp Taji, where 45 New Zealand military personnel are based, and called for diplomacy to help ease the tensions.

“The government is working actively with our partners through military and diplomatic channels, and we continue to keep the security situation under close review, including implications for our personnel,” Peters said.

The turmoil in the Middle East was enough to spook Burger Fuel Group’s master licensee in Iraq into closing the Kiwi burger franchise’s last store in that nation. The shares rose 1.2 percent to 43.5 cents.

Brent crude oil prices rose as much as 4 percent before the Iranian statement. Global logistics group Mainfreight fell 1.9 percent to $42.55 and national carrier Air New Zealand declined 2 percent at $2.90. New Zealand Oil & Gas increased 1.5 percent to 67 cents.

Shane Solly, a portfolio manager at Harbour Asset Management, said investors had become more comfortable about the global economic outlook at the end of last year, and that the events in the Middle East over the past week had reignited some concerns.

“Markets generally tend to step back when there are periods of uncertainty, but I think we will see some response from central banks if this gets extended. It’s too early to call that yet.” he said.

Last year’s best performers were among those leading the market lower, albeit on light volumes.

Among those, Summerset Group led the market lower, down 4.3 percent at $8.50 with 151,000 shares changing hands, less than its 90-day average of 231,000. Restaurant Brands New Zealand fell 2.7 percent to $13.53 and Fisher & Paykel Healthcare declined 2.6 percent to $21.90. NZX fell 2.2 percent to $1.32.

Real estate data out today showed a pick-up in demand in Auckland’s property market. That would typically support the retirement village operators, with some investors linking them to residential property development. Most of those stocks had already enjoyed a strong December on news of a $1.5 billion takeover offer for Metlifecare.

Ryman Healthcare fell 0.7 percent to $16.78 and Arvida Group decreased 0.5 percent to $1.88. Metlifecare was the most traded stock on a volume of 1.6 million shares. It was unchanged at $6.86, still below the $7 takeover offer from Swedish buy-out firm EQT.

Fonterra Shareholders’ Fund units rose 0.5 percent to $4.05 after dairy prices were up at the first Global Dairy Trade auction of the year. Synlait Milk decreased 0.3 percent to $9.05 and A2 Milk was down 0.5 percent at $14.60.

Spark New Zealand rose 0.7 percent to $4.525 on a volume of 1.6 million shares. Sky Network Television was unchanged at 73 cents on a volume of 1.1 million shares, and Kiwi Property Group fell 1.6 percent to $1.53 with 1.1 million shares changing hands.

Pushpay Holdings rose 1.7 percent to $4.16 with 257,000 shares changing hands. It posted the day’s biggest gain on the benchmark index. Auckland International Airport increased 1.4 percent to $9.195 and Gentrack Group rose 1.3 percent to $3.87.

Tags: Market Close

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