Market close: Energy stocks, blue chips drag index down

The New Zealand sharemarket has opened this year as one of the weakest globally after the leading energy stocks and other blue chips again dragged the index down more thanhalf a per cent.

As happened the day before, the S&P/NZX 50 Index continued to slide deeper into negative territory, closing down 97.66 points or 0.76 per cent to 12,830.03, from an intraday high of 12,971.94. The index has only risen on one day this month.

There were 69 gainers and 73 decliners over the whole market on volume of 41.9 million share transactions worth $152.47 million.

Dan Stratful, investment adviser with Forsyth Barr, said technically the market is not having a correction but it is certainly going through a weak patch.

“It’s quite ironic since our economic numbers show our economy is outperforming the rest of the western world – but not the sharemarket. The same thing is going on … we are being dragged down by Meridian and Contact and others. I don’t know who is selling the energy stocks but I hope it’s not the overseas exchange traded funds.

“I guess local and international investors saw how high their share prices got and are profit-taking. Eventually, Meridian and Contact will become a buying opportunity but some will argue they are still not cheap, and will be affected if interest rates keep going up, “Stratful said.

For the year to date, the NZX 50 Index has fallen 1.8 per cent – even though it reached an all-time high of 13,558.19 points on January 8. The Hong Kong market has so far increased 10 per cent, Japan 7 per cent, Germany 2.14 per cent, France 2.5 per cent, Dow Jones Industrial Average 2.5 per cent, S&P 500 Index 4 per cent, and Nasdaq Composite 8.7 per cent.

The Australian ASX 200 has gained 4.25 per cent, and in the latest trading was up 0.55 per cent to 6858.40 points at 5.45 pm (NZ time).

Meridian fell 30.5c or 4.46 per cent to $6.53; Contact was down 30c or 3.75 per cent to $7.70; Fisher and Paykel Healthcare decreased 12c to $32.45; a2 Milk shed 16c to $10.91; and Chorus lost 14c or 1.65 per cent to $8.36.

Mainfreight rose $1.09 or 1.61 per cent to $68.60, Auckland International Airport was up 6c to $7.16; and Hallenstein Glasson climbed 14c or 1.84 per cent to $7.76 in the flourishing retail sector.

Spurred on by the strong housing market, Summerset Group Holdings surged 41c or 3.29 per cent to a new high of $12.89.The retirement village operator has more than tripled since hitting a low of $3.71 on March 23 last year.

Restaurant Brands, a see-sawing stock, fell 32c or 2.65 per cent to $11.77; Synlait shed 13c or 2.93 per cent to $4.360; Napier Port was down 8c or 2.3 per cent to $3.40; and Fletcher Building slid 14c or 2.13 per cent to $6.42 on profit-taking after having a strong run since late last year. Water cooler supplier Just Life fell 7c or 7.22 per cent to 90c after having a good run.

Infratil executive Jason Boyes is replacing Marko Bogoievski who is stepping down as chief executive and director after 12 years on April 1. Infratil’s share price slipped 2.5c to $7.465.

Sanford fell 25c or 5.1 per cent to $4.65 after telling the market Chinese customs has suspended mussel imports from its Havelock processing plant. The Chinese raised a number of queries following a video audit, and Sanford said the suspension would not have a material impact on its operations or sales.

Stratful said Sanford operates in a difficult industry. “They can be hit by the weather, poor fish catches and fuel prices. And now there’s an event out of left field because of Covid and frozen packages – it is a tough sector to invest in.”

Property for Industry has sold its mixed-used Carlaw Park property to a private investor for $110m, and its share price increased 2c to $2.925. The Auckland property was valued at $102.4m in December.

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