Market close: Sea of red as stocks take a hit

There was a sea of red with prices across the board but the damage on the New Zealand sharemarket wasn’t as bad as it could have been, as heavyweight Fisher and Paykel Healthcare made a strong rebound.

The S&P/NZX 50 Index slipped 13.64 points or 0.11 per cent to 12,070.83 after reaching an intraday low of 12,010.05. There were 98 decliners and just 47 gainers across the whole market and trade was steady with 52.03 million shares worth $152.13 million changing hands.

Dan Stratful, investment adviser with Forsyth Barr, said the market is jittery and should remain that way until after the United States election on Wednesday (NZ time).

“Also, we’ve got the rising Covid-19 cases globally. If Donald Trump is still President, that will be good for the markets. He’s pro-business and he’s made tax cuts over the past four years.

“Joe Biden wants to hike tax rates – but if he was President, it may not be as bad as was previously feared. The market has got used to the fact that he might win.”

After having a roller-coaster ride last week, Fisher and Paykel Healthcare recovered $1 or 2.86 per cent to $36 on trade worth $24.7m. Fisher and Paykel is reporting its half-year on November 24 and analysts are expecting it to be another strong result.

The a2 Milk Company continued its slide, falling 38c or 2.6 per cent to $14.26 on trade worth $12m. A recent report says Chinese consumers will be buying goods made in China, rather than global brands, on Alibaba’s big “singles day” sale later this month. If this eventuates, then it may take some of the gloss away from a2 Milk, which has been the sixth largest global selling brand in the sale.

Fletcher Building rose 11c or 2.68 per cent to $4.21 on the day Grant Robertson was named Minister for Infrastructure, as well as Deputy Prime Minister.

The other significant risers were AMP, up 12c or 7.36 per cent to $1.75 after it said Ares Management Corporation’s conditional takeover offer values the company at A$1.85 ($1.96) a share; and ANZ Banking Group, up 28c to NZ$20.40 after its New Zealand bank said it was expecting a record October for home lending.

Freightways was up 20c or 2.38 per cent to $8.48, and Restaurant Brands gained 12c to $11.99.

Westpac New Zealand’s cash profit dropped 38 per cent or $393m to $649m for the year ending September, while the Australian parent suffered more, its net profit falling 66 per cent to A$2.29 billion. Westpac’s share price was down 15c to NZ$18.95.

Amongst the decliners, Chorus was down 9c to $8.33; Infratil fell 11c or 2.03 per cent to $5.31; Briscoe Group lost 6c to $4.04; and Pushpay Holdings was down 30c or 3.3 per cent to $8.80.

After reporting a flat first quarter result on Friday, Port of Tauranga fell a further 14c or 1.93 per cent to $7.10, and dropped below $7 during the day’s trading. Retirement village stocks were also hit – Ryman Healthcare falling 20c to $13.80 and Summerset Group Holdings declining 21c $10.19.

Property for Industry Limited (PFI) announced a steady third quarter dividend of 1.85c a share, and its price fell 5c to $2.85. Stride Property also decreased 5c to $2.16.

Newly-listed Rua Bioscience fell 5c or 7.58 per cent to 61c following the No vote on the cannabis referendum. Cannasouth rose 4c or 6.15 per cent to 69c after saying the referendum result would not affect its medicinal cannabis business and its ability to deliver products to the market.

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