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A much better day for NZ shares

Investor panic subsided and New Zealand shares edged higher as government packages designed to blunt the economic pain from the pandemic offered some much coveted good news.

Wednesday, March 18th 2020, 6:02PM

by BusinessDesk

The S&P/NZX 50 Index gained 20.47 points, or 0.2 percent, to 9,454.89. Within the index, 23 stocks fell, 21 rose, and six were unchanged. Turnover was $293.5 million.

This week governments across the world announced fiscal stimulus to curb a recession now considered imminent. US President Donald Trump's pursuit of a US$1 trillion package, which could include US$1,000 direct payments to individual Americans, helped Wall Street stage a recovery overnight.

Indices in the United States bounced back from their worst day since 1987. The S&P 500 rose 6 percent, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 5 percent and the Nasdaq gained 6.2 percent.

The local benchmark rose around 5 percent in morning trading, following the rally on Wall Street, before giving up some of those gains after the Australian market opened weaker. The S&P/ASX 200 Index was down 6.1 percent in afternoon trading.

Grant Williamson, a director at Hamilton Hindin Greene, said it had been another volatile trading day as the market fell away from its earlier gain.

The ASX's slide "put a lot of pressure on our market today," he said.

Pushpay Holdings led the market higher, climbing 21.5 percent to $3.11. The mobile payments software developer raised its earnings guidance, saying its church customers were pushing more of their congregations into using digital giving as in-person gatherings get suspended.

Williamson said the index was supported some of the larger stocks with heavier weightings. A2 Milk rose 4.3 percent to $15.79 and Fisher & Paykel Healthcare advanced 3 percent to $25.65.

“If you took them out of the equation, we would be down on the day,” he said. 

Fisher & Paykel raised its earnings guidance yesterday, due to a weaker kiwi dollar and as the virus outbreak stokes demand for its homecare products.

The kiwi dollar fell to an 11-year low, trading at 59.60 US cents at 5pm in Wellington, and providing a boost to exporters.

Fonterra Shareholders' Fund units rose 3.9 percent to $3.78. Fonterra said first-half earnings recovered but it won’t pay a dividend as it seeks to preserve its balance sheet. Rubber goods manufacturer Skellerup Holdings, who counts the US as a key market, rose 2.4 percent to $1.69, and Synlait Milk rose 1.3 percent to $4.62.

Heartland Group Holdings rose 1.9 percent to $1.09 after the lender affirmed its earnings guidance and said it was comfortable with its capital position.

The travel restrictions continued to weigh on businesses exposed to travel and tourism. 

Auckland International Airport fell 2.3 percent to $4.98 with 8.1 million shares trading hands. The company today said in the seven days to Monday 16 March, there was a 25 percent reduction in international passenger numbers versus last year. On Monday alone, there was a 44 percent fall in international traveller numbers versus the same day a year earlier.

Air New Zealand remains on a trading halt at $1.54. Analysts expect the government will bail out the national carrier, and Finance Minister Grant Robertson yesterday said the Crown was in talks with the airline, which was specifically excluded form a $600 million support package for the aviation sector.

SkyCity Entertainment Group fell 8.7 percent to $1.99 – its lowest level in two decades – after the casino operator cut $55 million from its earnings guidance as New Zealand’s travel restrictions cut gaming and accommodation revenue.

Millennium & Copthorne Hotels New Zealand fell 4.6 percent to $2.29 after it said it wasn’t covered by business interruption insurance and that revenue would be down by about $24 million in the first half of 2020.

Kathmandu Holdings fell 11.8 percent to $1.50 after the retailer said travel restrictions imposed in Europe had hit its operations on that continent, and that Australian and New Zealand stores were suffering with reduced traffic.

Vista Group International posted the day’s biggest loss, dropping 23.2 percent to $1.19. The cinema analytics software maker this week withdrew its earnings guidance for 2020 and canned a planned dividend payment for next week.

Tags: Market Close

« New Zealand shares ease as govt unveils $12.1b crutch for businessStocks hit record lows as market suffers »

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Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
AIA 4.55 3.19 3.19 3.49
AIA Special - 2.69 2.69 2.99
ANZ 4.44 3.15 3.25 ▼3.39
ANZ Special - ▼2.55 ▼2.69 ▼2.79
ASB Bank 4.45 3.19 3.19 3.49
ASB Bank Special - 2.69 2.69 2.99
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Credit Union South 5.65 4.75 4.75 -
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Heartland Bank - Online - - - -
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HSBC Premier LVR > 80% - - - -
HSBC Special - - - -
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Kiwibank - Capped - - - -
Kiwibank - Offset - - - -
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Last updated: 10 July 2020 9:02am

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