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Serko cracks $7 as NZ shares rise

Travel booking software company Serko broke through $7 per share while the broader market was supported by gains in renewable energy stocks.

Monday, March 29th 2021, 6:26PM

by BusinessDesk

The S&P/NZX 50 Index rose 19.3 points, or 0.2%, to 12,368.13. Within the index, 16 stocks rose, 25 fell and nine were unchanged. Turnover was $150 million.

Serko led the market, climbing 3.6% to reach an all-time high of $7.01, bringing its gain in March alone to more than 20%. The stock traded as low as $1.13 in March last year as the pandemic decimated the travel industry.

Craig Brown, a portfolio manager at ANZ Bank, said the move above $7 was on very light volume – only 57,000 shares were traded – but had been climbing as booking volumes have recovered and a deal with a European travel giant moved forward. 

“It is a business with good technology behind it and investors have been encouraged by the progress made with booking.com,” he said

Meridian Energy climbed 3.4% to $5.28 and Contact Energy rose 1.5% to $6.86.

The renewable electricity generators were likely buoyed by buying from a Blackrock clean energy index which rose 2% overnight.

Precinct Properties shares rose 2.7% to $1.695 as the property investment firm said it would buy its management contract back for $215m and manage its portfolio itself.

Independent chair Craig Stobo said the transaction is expected to provide cost savings of $14.6m a year. The NZX have given the directors a waiver so the transaction won't require a shareholder vote for approval.

Brown said he “rates” Precinct as a manager and said the move had benefits beyond the obvious cost savings.  

“It also helps to create a more efficient structure for decision making which help strategy going forward,” he said.

While the index made modest gains, the majority of stocks fell. Synlait Milk had the day’s biggest losses, falling 5.9% to a four-year low of $3.34.

The dairy processor today reported a 76% drop in net profit in the six months ended January and warned there was more uncertainty to come.

Synlait declined to give forward guidance but said the outlook suggested the company would “broadly breakeven” in the full year.

Fitch Ratings put Westpac New Zealand on a negative rating watch because of its Australian parent's plan to review the business. Westpac Bank’s share declined 0.3% to $26.59 on the NZX.

The New Zealand dollar did little to reverse its status as the “standout underperformer last week” as BNZ strategist Nick Symth described it this morning. It declined 2.3% during last week dipping as low as 69.50 on Friday.

Today, it was trading at 69.84 US cents at 5pm in Wellington, down from 69.71 cents on Friday.

The trade-weighted index was at 73.41 at 5pm, from 73.29 yesterday. The kiwi traded at 91.51 Australian cents from 91.58 cents, 76.50 yen from 76.18 yen, 59.28 euro cents from 59.21 cents, 50.67 British pence unchanged, and 4.5715 Chinese yuan from 4.5575 yuan.

Tags: Market Close

« NZ shares finish week 1% lowerAuckland Airport takes off; NZ shares gain »

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Last updated: 29 July 2021 9:04am

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