AFT leads NZ shares higher

AFT Pharmaceuticals led New Zealand’s share market higher after its new painkiller helped double the company’s annual net profit.

Monday, May 23rd 2022, 6:19PM

by BusinessDesk

The S&P/NZX 50 Index rose 50 points, or 0.4%, to 11,316.46. Turnover was $92.6 million.

Oanda analyst, Jeffrey Halley said US market futures were up today but Asian investors were still cautious about the prospect of a recession.

“It is always worth taking Monday morning price action with a grain of salt and regional markets are probably placing more emphasis on a flat close by Wall Street,” he said in a note.

The NZ market was more buoyant with a number of stocks having a big increase in share price.

AFT Pharmaceuticals jumped almost 14% to $3.65 after it reported annual net profit had risen to $19.8m from just $7.8m in the previous year.

Managing director Hartley Atkinson said the result was driven by covid becoming endemic and the licensing of its intravenous painkiller Maxigesic IV in the US.

The company expects next year’s operating profit to the range of $27m and $32m.

Another pharmaceutical company, Green Cross Health, appeared to benefit from AFT’s strong result and its share price climbed almost 5% to $1.29. 

Fleet management company Eroad was up 5.6% at $2.84 today, as it continues to recover some of the losses that occurred when its chief executive and founder resigned several weeks ago.

A disclosure made to the NZX today showed fund manager Australian Ethical bought $1.3m worth of shares in the company last Thursday; it now owns 8.4%.

The a2 Milk Company gained 3.4% to $4.89 and its supplier Synlait Milk was up 3.1% at $3.28.

The US is currently experiencing an infant formula shortage, which Citi analyst Sam Teeger says could create an opportunity for the company to break into the market.

However, the chief executive of Infant Nutrition Council of Australia and NZ previously told Radio NZ that the window of opportunity will likely be too small to get through the FDA approval process.

Other stocks moving higher included Mainfreight, up 2.5% at $76.96 – it reports later this week – and Tourism Holdings, which rose 2.2% to $2.83.

The campervan rental company today gave updated earnings guidance which set its underlying net loss in the range of $2m to $4m. This was well below some analysts' expectations, which ran as high as $13m.

The company said there was a recovery in international demand for RV travel in all countries where it operates.

“This is evident in the strong number of international bookings in the United States for the upcoming 2022 summer period,” it said in an update.

The worst performing stocks were all small caps, but KMD Brands was the laggard on the benchmark index with a 1.7% fall to $1.13.

The NZ dollar was trading above 64 US cents for the first time since the start of May, following a recovery from two-year lows the previous week.

It was trading at 64.50 US cents at 3pm in Wellington, up from 64.79 cents on Friday.

This week markets will be focused on central banks' efforts to curb inflation, with a RBNZ monetary policy statement due on Wednesday.

Tags: Market Close

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