Shares flat and dollar higher as dairy prices boom

New Zealand's main share index was flat and the kiwi dollar edged higher after milk powder prices hit record highs overnight.

Wednesday, March 3rd 2021, 6:39PM

by BusinessDesk

The S&P/NZX 50 Index rose 14.77 points, or 0.1%, to 12,345.9. Within the index, 21 stocks fell, 24 rose, and five were unchanged. Turnover was $150 million.

Grant Williamson, a director at Hamilton Hindin Greene, said it was a disappointing outcome after opening stronger and with the Aussie market up 0.8%. 

The biggest news was in the commodities market, where milk powder prices soared 21% in the overnight Global Dairy Trade auction on surging demand from China.

“It is good for the overall NZ economy, but doesn’t always mean it is good news for the likes of A2 who need to buy the raw products to process,” Williamson said.

New Zealand’s key export is now trading at its highest level in seven years, putting pressure on Fonterra to raise its payout to farmers.

Listed dairy companies were mixed on the day: A2 Milk Company and Fonterra Shareholder Fund units each climbed 0.8% to $10.10 and $5.03, respectively, but A2’s supplier Synlait Milk dropped 0.3% to $3.85.

The improved export price is supportive of the kiwi dollar but the commodity-sensitive currency had a muted reaction, climbing less than half a cent to be trading at 72.88 US cents at 5pm in Wellington.

Genesis Energy led the share market higher, up 2.7% at $3.75, rising alongside other electricity generators such as Vector which rose 2.5% to $4.14 and Contact Energy which climbed 1.4% to $7.03.

Spark New Zealand and Infratil were among the day’s worst performers, dropping 1.4% each to $4.665 and $7.80, respectively.

“It’s been a very mixed day overall, without any actual trend. The market is not really showing us anything today,” Williamson said.

Z Energy announced a rejig of its management team, shifting Julian Hughes from his role as general manager of strategy and risk, to a new role as GM Transition.

Hughes will be leading efforts to keep the fuel-retailer relevant as New Zealand pursues the goals set out in the Paris Climate Accord.

Its share price dropped 0.7% to $2.69 on the market today.

In currency, the trade-weighted index was at 75.46 at 5pm, from 75.28 yesterday. The kiwi traded at 93.11 Australian cents from 93.38, traded at 77.85 yen from 77.43 yen, 60.30 euro cents from 60.28 cents, 52.17 British pence from 52.19 pence, and 4.7070 Chinese yuan from 4.6924 yuan.

Tags: Market Close

« A2 drives share market recoveryShares tumble as Synlait pulls guidance »

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