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NZ shares edge lower as investors digest QE, covid fund

New Zealand shares fell as investors paused to digest the extra support from the government and Reserve Bank announced this week and what it means for the economy.

Friday, May 15th 2020, 6:13PM

by BusinessDesk

The S&P/NZX 50 Index fell 14.48 points, or 0.1 percent, to 10,730.68. Within the index, 26 stocks rose, 17 fell and seven were unchanged. Turnover was $157 million.

This week saw the Reserve Bank announce it would buy up to $60 billion of central and local government bonds - almost doubling its quantitative easing programme - while Finance Minster Grant Robertson oversaw a budget pumping money into mitigating the fallout from covid-19, including a $50 billion fund specifically for the response.

Today, the local market was weaker, ignoring stronger leads from global equity markets, with lighter volumes relative to what's been seen during the covid-19 crisis.

Shane Solly, a portfolio manager at Harbour Asset Management, said investors were absorbing the changes to fiscal and monetary policy.

“There will be a time of digesting that stimulus,” he said. “There is a little bit of investors thinking ‘let’s just pause here’ and the market is pretty much flat on the day.”

With $20 billion of the covid fund yet to be allocated, the full impact remains to be seen.

Adding to the caution were global concerns about new virus outbreaks in South Korea and Texas.

“Markets are wary about containment and this is a reminder we have a way to go,” he said.

Tourism Holdings led the market lower, falling 9.4 percent to $1.44. Solly said investors may have been hoping for more support for the tourism industry in yesterday’s budget announcement.

Air New Zealand was also weaker today, dropping 2 percent to $1.22. Auckland International Airport rose 0.2 percent to $5.70.

Meridian Energy declined 2.1 percent to $4.61 and Contact Energy fell 1.9 percent to $6.11.

Both released data today showing national electricity demand in April fell by 13.7 percent compared to last year. However, demand has lifted strongly since the lockdown ended, with demand in the week ending May 10 being above the five-year average.

Fisher & Paykel Healthcare fell 1.9 percent to $30.50. 

Freightways posted the day's biggest gain, rising 5.2 percent to $7.25 off yesterday’s announcement they had secured new banking facilities coupled with activity picking up as the economy resumes.

Vista Group International rose 3.6 percent to $7.25, benefiting from its customers, cinema operators, returning to work this week throughout Australasia.

Similarly, SkyCity Entertainment Group increased 2.5 percent to $2.46 as investors anticipated activity getting underway again.

Pushpay Holdings continued to rally, up 2.5 percent at $7.02 on quieter volumes today, but still garnering support from the market.

Outside the benchmark index, Michael Hill International fell 2.8 percent to 35 cents after it announced it would not reopen nine of its 300 stores, with more closures likely.

Tags: Market Close

« Investors fear slow global recoveryNZ shares rise on US futures and weakening currency »

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AIA Special - 2.69 2.69 2.99
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ANZ Special - 2.65 2.75 3.35
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ASB Bank Special - 2.69 2.69 2.99
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Last updated: 3 July 2020 8:15am

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