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NZ shares fall as investors worry about virus spread

New Zealand shares fell as a global spike in coronavirus cases kept the risk of further economic disruption on investors’ minds.

Monday, July 20th 2020, 7:25PM

by BusinessDesk

The S&P/NZX 50 Index declined 30.89 points, or 0.3 percent, to 11,553.16. Within the index, 30 stocks fell, 13 rose, and seven were unchanged. Turnover was $113.6 million.

The benchmark fell with the Australian market as coronavirus cases in the southeast state of Victoria continued to rise.

Investors have priced the market for a quick recovery, but authorities have warned that the surge of cases could take weeks to stamp out at considerable cost to the economy.

The US states of Florida, California and Texas continue to see record number of infections each day.

Greg Smith, head of research at Fat Prophets, said worsening infections were keeping risks still posed by the pandemic in focus for investors. 

“The second wave is certainly on investors’ minds,” Smith said. “That is raising concerns and keeping risk front-and-centre.”

The downside risk was being balanced somewhat by the prospect of more stimulus to help support economies, Smith said. 

The US Congress will begin debating a new aid package this week and at the European Union Summit leaders are negotiating a stimulus plan to revive damaged economies.

Pushpay Holdings led the market lower, falling 4.1 percent to $7.67. The stock was last week’s biggest decliner, shedding 13 percent.

Smith said the market was seeing rotation away from higher priced stocks as investors sought out value. Pushpay, as one of the pandemic success cases, has seen some profit taking, he said.

Other high-priced stocks also declined. Mainfreight fell 2.1 percent to $42.20, Fisher & Paykel Healthcare declined 0.5 percent to $35.76, Ebos Group dropped 0.7 percent and A2 Milk Company fell 0.8 percent to $20.53.

Restaurant Brands dropped 4.1 percent to $11.80, giving up some of the 6.4 percent lift it saw on Friday. 

Some property stocks were weaker as investors took profits following a surge for the sector at the end of last week.

Vital Healthcare Property Trust fell 2.3 percent to $2.57, Goodman Property Trust slipped 2.1 percent to $2.1450, Investore Property declined 2 percent to $1.93 and Property For Industry fell 1.2 percent to $2.51.

Energy stocks mostly rose as investors sought value as the industry re-positions ahead of the closure of Tiwai aluminium smelter.

Meridian Energy rose 1.9 percent to $4.78, Contact Energy advanced 0.7 percent to $5.81, Mercury NZ was up 0.7 percent to $5.81 and Vector gained 0.3 percent at $3.72.

Trustpower held at $6.90 and Genesis Energy fell 2.3 percent to $2.935.

Manufacturer Skellerup Holdings posted the day’s biggest gain, rising 2.1 percent to $2.49.       

Outside the benchmark, Hallenstein Glasson Holdings announced that with stay at home restrictions returning to metropolitan Melbourne the group had to close 10 stores. Its share price rose 0.3 percent to $3.62.

Tags: Market Close

« NZ shares rise as investors look for safetyNZ shares surge on optimism over tech sector, covid vaccine »

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Last updated: 14 August 2020 1:06pm

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