Mainfreight shares hit $90 as market bounces

New Zealand's sharemarket lifted almost 2% on Wednesday as the benchmark equity index continues to bounce back from the worst start to the year since 2008.

Wednesday, February 2nd 2022, 7:54PM

by BusinessDesk

The S&P/NZX 50 Index rose 230 points, or 1.9%, to 12,289.64. Turnover was $152 million.

Global logistics firm Mainfreight led the rally after an 85% jump in pre-tax profit, reported in a trading update, sent its shares up 6% to $89.99.

Managing director Don Braid said the results weren’t surprising, reflecting a continuation of increasing freight volumes and trends seen in its first-half results.

Forsyth Barr’s head of research, Andy Bowley said in November the company would continue to benefit from climbing freight prices for the next six to nine months.

“In short, the level of air & ocean overearning could be substantially greater in the second half of 2022 than in the first half,” he wrote at the time.

This prediction has panned out with the air and ocean division overtaking its transport business as the biggest contributor to earnings, as pre-tax profit tripled.

Mainfreight’s trading update followed a similar update from US-listed logistics company UPS which reported record annual earnings overnight, no doubt helping sentiment in the sector.

Mainfreight traded above $90 during the session but remained below its highwater mark of $98.78.

Other NZX-listed logistics companies also made gains, Freightways was up 1.7% at $12.28 and Move Logistics rose 1.3% to $1.62.

The market was buoyant with Mainfreight one of five top-50 companies gaining 3% or more today.

Auckland International Airport shares were up 5.5% at $7.57 and Air New Zealand gained 2.7% at $1.51.

Senior government ministers met yesterday to discuss plans for reopening the borders, and the prime minister is expected to make an announcement tomorrow.

Genesis Energy was up 4% at $2.85, Vista Group climbed 3.8% to $2.20, Synlait Milk rose 3.2% to $3.45, and Vector was up 2.9% at $3.95.

CMC Markets analyst Tina Teng said a “slew of strong US company earnings reports had pumped a rebound” after a weak performance in January.

Shares in insurance company Tower rose 5.2% after it reconfirmed earnings guidance and reported an increase of 24,000 customers year-on-year.

It will also go ahead with a plan to return $30m of capital to investors after a court approved its scheme of arrangement.

Stock market operator NZX had the day’s biggest decline falling 4.3% to $1.80.

The NZ dollar was trading at 66.48 US cents at 3pm in Wellington, up from 65.70 cents yesterday.

CMC’s Teng said the US currency was declining against the other major currencies as bond yields stabilised and investors became willing to take on risk.

Commodity currencies including the Australian and NZ dollars were all up 0.9% against the greenback and cryptocurrencies also climbed with the risk-on mood.

Bitcoin is up 17% and Ethereum – which is used to buy and sell NFTs – has surged 29%, she said, both from January lows.

Tags: Market Close

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