NZ shares rise as local earnings salvage sentiment

New Zealand shares rose as earnings updates from local firms and US tech companies outweighed data showing a record quarterly contraction for the US economy. Mainfreight hit an all-time high.

Saturday, August 1st 2020, 11:22AM

by BusinessDesk

The S&P/NZX 50 Index advanced 35.61 points, or 0.3 percent, to 11,727.63. Within the index, 20 stocks rose, 22 fell, and eight were unchanged. Turnover was $155.9 million.

The slump in the world's biggest economy put investors on edge, as they weigh up tepid US activity for the broader economy. However, the local market managed to shake that off with optimistic trading updates from global logistics firm Mainfreight and rental campervan operator Tourism Holdings. Better than expected earnings from Facebook, Amazon, Apple and Google's parent, Alphabet, also soothed some of the fears over the 32.9 percent annualised slump in US gross domestic product in the June quarter.

“We are seeing some of the companies that have quietly been getting on with it really performing well today,” Shane Solly, portfolio manager at Harbour Asset Management said. 

Mainfreight shares hit a record $46.95 in early trading following a strong trading update and upbeat annual meeting yesterday. The shares rose 7.6 percent to a record close $46.90, and are up 10.5 percent so far this year, valuing the business at $4.27 billion.

Jarden analysts said the result was “remarkable” and upgraded their forecast for net profit in the March 2021 year by 25 percent, due to increasing revenue in Australia and NZ.

Tourism Holdings led the market higher, jumping 9.9 percent to $1.88 after it released a framework outline for its plan to stay cashflow positive while operating in a fully domestic environment for the 2021 financial year. The stock had been in decline since it reached $2.40 in early June when recovering from a sharp slump in March.

The campervan rental company plans to shrink its fleet by 30 percent to keep cash in the coffers.

“That was a bit of a surprise, investors have been anticipating them to continue to see tough times and potentially have to raise new equity capital,” Solly said. “Being cashflow positive in 2021 means they might not have to do that.”

Auckland International Airport rose 2.6 percent to $6.38 and Air New Zealand increased 0.8 percent to $1.34.

Genesis Energy advanced 2.7 percent to $2.91, Meridian Energy gained 1.5 percent at $4.86 and Mercury NZ was up 1 percent to $4.67.

Fisher & Paykel Healthcare increased 1.3 percent to $36. Meanwhile, A2 Milk Company fell 3.1 percent to $20.84, following a wider decline on Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index.

Vista Group International posted the day’s biggest decline, down 4.5 percent at $1.28 and SkyCity Entertainment Group fell 3.1 percent to $2.49.

The Australian banks dropped, giving back some of yesterday’s gains. Australia & New Zealand Banking Group fell 1.5 percent to $19.50 and Westpac Banking Corp fell 2.9 percent to $18.46

Tags: Market Close

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