Market close: NZ sharemarket bogged down by choppy trading

The New Zealand sharemarket followed a weaker tone overseas with a near half per cent loss as investors wrestle with the implications of rising interest rates and inflation and eventual moves by central banks.

The S&P/NZX 50 Index was bogged down by choppy trading throughout the day, closing at 12,902.71, down 61.74 points or 0.48 after reaching a high of 12,976.25.

Volume was again light with 34.9 million shares worth $133.89 million changing hands, and there were 55 gainers and 77 decliners over the whole market which will soon comprise 187 stocks.

Two companies are listing within the next week – Ventia Services Group on Friday and transport and logistics software firm Trade Window on Monday.

Ventia, the large transtasman infrastructure services provider, is making an initial public offer of 257.5m shares at A$1.70 ($1.77), worth A$437.75m.

Greg Main, Jarden Wealth Management adviser, said the leading United States indices were all flat overnight and the Australian market was down and “we are following the trend”.

“The concern around inflation and rising interest rates is still weighing on the markets, and investors want to see where monetary policies head. For New Zealand, it will be whether the Reserve Bank next week increases the official cash rate by 25 or 50 basis points.

“We are going through a reporting season and investors are keeping a lookout for results, updates, costs, wage and supply pressures, and lockdown impacts. The market is playing out the thematics at present,” Main said.

The S&P/ASX 200 Index had fallen 0.77 per cent to 7412.4 points at 5.45pm NZ time.

At home, interest rate-sensitive stocks Chorus was down 9c to $6.19; Spark shed 5c to $4.44; Mercury Energy decreased 17c or 2.99 per cent to $5.92; Meridian lost 10c or 2.08 per cent to $4.70; and Genesis was down 6c or 1.9 per cent to $3.10.

Market leader Fisher and Paykel Healthcare fell 43c to $31.57; a2 Milk declined 19c or 2.92 per cent to $6.31; Fletcher Building decreased 12c to $7; Skellerup Holdings shed 13c or 2.04 per cent to $6; and Serko was down 14c to $7.85.

Transtasman health products supplier Ebos Group provided the bright spot, rising 88c or 2.44 per cent to a new high of $36.95. A broker’s report upgraded Ebos’ share price target to $42.20.

Napier Port rebounded 8c or 2.68 per cent to $3.06 after producing record revenue and earnings for the year ending September. Napier’s share price had fallen from $3.59 in late April to near its listing price of $2.94.

Napier’s revenue was up 9 per cent to $109.46m and net profit increased 5.2 per cent to $23.16m, driven by improved bulk cargo volumes including record log exports of 3.02m tonnes. Bulk cargo revenue increased 32.7 per cent to $41.5m. The port company is paying a final dividend of 4.7c a share on December 16.

Port of Tauranga benefited from competitor Napier’s improved performance, rising 13c to $7. But South Port New Zealand was down 10c to $8.60.

NZME shot up 7c or 5.74 per cent to $1.29 after telling the market it is distributing $30m to shareholders through an on-market share buyback, starting early next year. NZME said it is carrying no debt following the sale of GrabOne and has a clearer business outlook.

Other gainers were Mainfreight, up $1.22 to $91.50; Ryman Healthcare increasing 10c to $14; Green Cross Health collecting 4c or 3.45 per cent to $1.20; and Goodman Property Trust putting on 3.5c to $2.465.

Re-opening stock SkyCity Entertainment increased 4c to $3.19; wine exporter Delegat Group gained 14c to $14.60; and manuka honey producer Comvita rose 8c or 2.33 per cent to $3.51.

Arvida Group has completed the $345m purchase of Arena Living Holdings, adding six retirement villages in Auckland and Tauranga and welcoming an additional 1400 residents. Arvida’s share price slipped 2c to $1.96.

Investore, specialising in bulk retail property, had a 37.45 per cent fall in net profit to $56.94m for the six months ending September. Its portfolio is valued at $1.5 billion, and the revaluation gain of $44.8m in the latest six months was lower than the previous corresponding increase of $83.7m. Investore is paying an interim dividend of 1.9c a share on December 1, and its share price was unchanged at $1.86.

In the United States, Rocket Lab has bought Planetary Systems Corporation, a Maryland-based spacecraft separation company, for US$42m. The announcement came after Wall Street closed and in after-hours trading Rocket Lab gained 51c or 3.57 per cent to US$14.80.

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