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Auckland airport a bright note in a dull day on the NZ sharemarket

The hefty $830 million council sale of Auckland International Airport shares provided excitement for the New Zealand sharemarket but didn’t stop it from losing ground once more.

Friday, September 1st 2023, 6:30PM

by BusinessDesk

Auckland airport aside, the S&P/NZX 50 Index was sluggish all day and closed at 11,528.73, down 25.75 points or 0.22%. The index was up more than 0.5% for the week.

There were 45 gainers and 78 decliners over the whole market on trade of 136.83 million shares worth $995.29m.

Auckland council sold a 7% stake (103.09m shares) out of its 18% holding in Auckland airport at prices between $8.10 and $8.15 a share to reap $835.89m. 

Another $60.49m worth of airport shares were traded, and outside the sale, the daily volume on the index was $98.91m.

The council disposed of 37.4m shares on-market between $8.11 and $8.25 a share for $300.86m, and underwriter UBS NZ got a block of 66.05m airport shares away at $8.10 for $535.03m.

Auckland International Airport rose 24c or 3.07% to $8.05, with a total of 110.58m shares worth $896.38m changing hands.

Jeremy Sullivan, investment advisor with Hamilton Hindin Greene, said Auckland airport was the only shining light on another otherwise quiet day on the market.

“Auckland council received a fair price considering it was selling into a weaker market, and the airport share price had fallen 10% since it made the decision to reduce its holding.

“I think the council will be happy to have money in its back pocket and save Aucklanders from paying extra rates,” Sullivan said.

Chinese whispers

In a special message, Fonterra chief executive Miles Hurrell reassured concerned farmers that dairy demand in China is continuing to grow – just at a slower pace more recently.

He said some rebalancing of China’s domestic milk production is occurring, and as these changes on the supply side play out, indications are that demand for NZ products could start to return over the 2024 calendar year.

This coincides with the remaining tariffs on NZ dairy products being removed from January 2024 as part of the NZ-China Free Trade Agreement. Fonterra Shareholders’ Fund was down 5c to $3.15.

Like business confidence the day before, consumer confidence lifted slightly in August but remains at low levels. The ANZ-Roy Morgan Consumer Confidence Index increased 1 point to 85, driven by the question of whether it is a good time to buy a major household item. This rose from minus 39% to minus 31%.

Consumer price inflation expectations two years ahead eased from 4.7% to 4.6%, and a net 13% of respondents expect to be better off this time next year, up 2%. 

ANZ Research said inflation expectations remain stuck at levels inconsistent with the inflation target but are at least pointing in the right direction.

In the United States, inflation continues to cool. The Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) price index, the central bank's preferred inflation gauge, climbed 3.3% on an annual basis to July, in line with market expectations.

Excluding volatile food and energy components, the core PCE price index rose 4.2% in July, year-on-year, also in line with estimates. But consumer spending remained resilient, increasing US$144.6 billion (NZ$242.8b) or 0.8% in July. Commentators expect the Federal Reserve to keep interest rates on hold.

China’s factory activity in August shrank for a fifth straight month, while non-manufacturing activity hit a new low for the year – signs that the slowdown in the world’s second-largest economy may not yet have bottomed out.

The official manufacturing purchasing managers’ index rose slightly to 49.7 in August from 49.3 in July, but better than the median forecast of 49.4.

At home, Fisher and Paykel Healthcare was down 21c to $22.50; Meridian Energy declined 10c or 1.86% to $5.265; Ebos Group shed 31c to $37.64; Chorus decreased 15.5c or 1.93% to $7.87; and a2 Milk was down 11c or 2.2% to $4.89.

Freightways was down 16c or 1.84% to $8.55; Manawa Energy declined 12c or 2.59% to $4.51; Napier Port shed 5c or 2.17% to $2.25; Serko decreased 8c or 2.05% to $3.82; and PGG Wrightson was down 8c pr 1.96% to $4.

Ascension Capital plunged 1.7c or 48.57% to 1.8c; Burger Fuel was down 1c or 3.57% to 27c; and Steel & Tube declined 3c or 2.54% to $1.15.

Infratil gained 10c to $10.19 after completing its $75m, seven-and-a-half-year infrastructure bond offer with an interest rate of 7.08% a year.

Mainfreight collected $1.10 to $66.66; Smartpay Holdings increased 4c or 2.52% to $1.63; Third Age Health Services was up 5c or 3.21% to $1.61; NZME rose 5c or 5.49% to 96c; Allied Farmers collected 3c or 4.41% to 71c; and Seeka added 4c to $2.44.

Port of Tauranga declined 8c to $5.92. The port council said in announcing its annual result that the recent opening of the Ruakura Inland Port is a game changer for the upper North Island supply chain and will provide new business opportunities.

Tags: Market Close

« A bleak August for the sharemarket ends on a slight upliftSkyCity's share plunge dominates NZ sharemarket »

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Last updated: 29 November 2023 1:56pm

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