Pushpay leads NZ shares higher

New Zealand's sharemarket finished the week up more than 2.5% as equity markets begin to recover from Ukraine crisis lows.

Friday, March 18th 2022, 6:44PM

by BusinessDesk

The S&P/NZX 50 Index rose 176 points, or 1.5%, to 12,175.85 today.

Turnover was $677 million, with an extended trading session allowing the quarterly rebalance of the S&P/NZX and FTSE Russell Indices.

US markets had another positive session overnight, although things remain volatile.

Greg Smith, head of retail at Devon Funds, said the US Federal Reserve’s warning it may hike rates six times this year was a vote of confidence in a rebounding economy.

“Rate rises per se are not necessarily something to be feared by equity investors, which we can see by looking back at previous tightening initiatives,” he said.

For example, he said the Fed raised rates 17 times between 2004 and 2006, and the S&P 500 rose more than 10% over the period.

Pushpay Holdings led the index higher, up 7.3% at $1.17, as it followed US stocks higher and as investors responded to positive analyst notes.

Equity analysts were reassured by the company tightening its earnings guidance this week and reiterated the long-term outlook for the company was still promising – even if it was taking a little longer to get there.

Other growth stocks also recovered some ground, Pacific Edge was up 2.2% at 93 cents and Sky Network Television was up 2.3% at $2.71.

Vista Group International fell 2.7% to $1.80 and Serko was down 0.7% at $4.60.

Harbour Asset Management bought another $13m of Serko shares this week, bringing its stake in the company to just under 9%. 

The fund manager has previously said it was using the market weakness to expand its positions in some companies.

Fletcher Building had the day’s biggest fall, dropping 2.3% to $6.32.

Travel stocks were mixed as the border opening rally ran out of steam. Auckland International Airport was still moving higher, up 6% at $7.93, while Air New Zealand stalled and fell 0.7% to $1.42.

Someone associated with the airline tipped off Australian media that UBS, Citi and Forsyth Barr would oversee the $1.1 billion to $1.2 billion raise before the end of the month.

Air New Zealand declined to comment when approached by BusinessDesk.

Stock market operator NZX recovered 2.2% to $1.40, after its own capital raise had an underwhelming response from investors amid market volatility.

The NZ dollar gained more ground against the US dollar, trading at 68.93 at 3pm in Wellington up from 68.43 yesterday.

Tina Teng, an analyst at CMC Markets, said the kiwi was strengthened by optimism for a forward border reopening plan by the government.

Tags: Market Close

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