Shares rise as investors anticipate swift move to level 2

New Zealand shares rose in the first day of looser lockdown restrictions with investors optimistic that low infection rates could see the economy opened up further.

Tuesday, April 28th 2020, 6:01PM

by BusinessDesk

The S&P/NZX Index climbed 340.08 points, or 3.3 percent, to 10,759.56. Within the index, 34 stocks rose, nine fell and seven were unchanged. Turnover was $181.6 million.

Trading resumed today after the long Anzac weekend, following a strong lead from Wall Street overnight with investors looking forward to looser restrictions for the global economy.

Locally, just three new cases of covid-19 were reported today, giving investors confidence that a move to alert level 2 might come sooner than expected, investment adviser at Craigs Investment Partners, Peter McIntyre said.

“Over the weekend our covid numbers seemed to be under control and there is a lot of confidence going into level 3,” he said.

“Some in the marketplace are ‘guesstimating’ we may only be here for a few weeks before we drop down another level.”

Some 400,000 workers were able to return to their jobs today, as the looser restrictions took effect, opening up a significant portion of the economy, including construction, manufacturing, and some retail.

SkyCity Entertainment Group led the market higher, gaining 7.1 percent to $2.27. The group’s casinos have all been closed since the national lockdown took effect in March.

Auckland International Airport increased 6.9 percent to $6.03. McIntyre said international fund managers and institutional investors had been “topping up” their holdings following the airport operator's successful capital raising.

Restaurant Brands New Zealand rose 4.3 percent to $12.10 on a volume of 34,000 shares. With New Zealand moving into level-3 restrictions today, fast food operations were able to resume drive thru and home delivery services. Photos of long drive thru queues circulated social media today. 

Air New Zealand rose 4.2 percent to $1.255. The national carrier's update for March passenger numbers was down 25 percent on the previous year. McIntyre said the airline was finding support as national carriers around the world had strong support from governments unwilling to let them collapse.   

“As an investor though, you are not going to get any income off it. And the road back to normality is a long, hard one,” he said.

Tourism Holdings rose 2.5 percent to $1.23. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern today said the government was still considering special assistance for parts of the economy, such as international tourist services which are unlikely to be able to restart operations even when the country moves to alert level 2 or 1.

Metlifecare increased 2.2 percent to $4.17 after it rejected the notice from Asia Pacific Village Group seeking to terminate its takeover offer, saying Metlifecare’s value has declined in excess of $200 million due to covid-19.

Oceania Healthcare updated the market to report it had no cases of covid–19 and while unable to settle the sale of units during level 4 restrictions, the numbers of sales remained consistent. The shares fell 1.3 percent to 79 cents.

Westpac Banking Corp declined 1.1 percent to $15.98. The Australian bank today announced a A$2.24 billion impairment charge will be booked in its first-half results scheduled to be released on Monday, including A$1.6 billion of provisions for losses due to the coronavirus crisis.

Australia & New Zealand Banking Group also fell 1.3 percent to $16.79.

Vital Healthcare Property Trust posted the day's biggest decline, falling 1.6 percent to $2.45.

Outside the benchmark index, TruScreen fell 30.3 percent to 6.9 cents after announcing a $2 million capital raising at 5 cents per share. The group plans to use the funds to support expansion into foreign markets.

Eroad rose 9.1 percent to $2.40 after reporting continued growth in the fourth quarter with many of its customers providing essential services and said its expectations for the 2020 financial year are unchanged.

Steel & Tube is planning to make up to 200 staff redundant and warned its restructuring efforts and other coronavirus-related impairments and doubtful debt provisions will hurt this year's bottom line. The shares fell 1.6 percent to 62 cents.

Tags: Market Close

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