Market close: Volatile energy stocks settle as sharemarket posts solid gain

The New Zealand sharemarket posted a solid gain of more than half a per cent on a day when the volatile renewable energy stocks settled and corporate news was lacking.

The S&P/NZX 50 Index rose 87.10 points or 0.7 per cent to 12,487.59. There were 84 gainers and 57 decliners over the whole market on heavy volume of 85.85 million share transactions worth $289.84 million.

There was again reasonably strong trading in Contact Energy and Meridian as they continue to face selling from the offshore exchange traded funds, but their share prices held up.

“The strength in the energy sector underpinned the market today,” said Matt Goodson, managing director of Salt Funds Management. “I think there is still a fair amount of selling to be done by the Global Clean Energy Index-related funds as the rebalancing date on Friday week (for the index) draws nearer.

“But when prices get too low, there are buyers lining up on the other side to invest,” he said.

Contact rose 15c or 2.21 per cent to $6.94 on trade worth $32.74m, and Meridian was up 12c or 2.29 per cent to $5.37 with $39.48m worth of its shares changing hands.

Market leader Fisher and Paykel had a strong day, driving the market ahead with a rise of $1.09 or 3.48 per cent to $32.42 on trade worth $54.98, making up nearly a fifth of the day’s volume.

It was a recovery day for a2 Milk, up 20c or 2.39 per cent to $8.56; and Pushpay Holdings, increasing 7c or 3.48 per cent to $2.08.

But telecommunications company Chorus continued to fall, down 22c or 3.25 per cent to $6.54, having sat at $8.10 on March 5.

Goodson said there’s disappointment over the returns Chorus will be getting from its regulated fibre base. “It looks like the earnings will be lower to start with and then increase later on, and this many affect the dividend path. We could see a lower dividend to begin with.”

The re-opening stocks were quiet following the announcement of the transtasman travel bubble, which begins on April 19. Air New Zealand fell 1.5c to $1.81; Auckland International Airport was down 5c to $7.70; Serko shed 23c or 3.29 per cent to $6.76; and Tourism Holdings declined 6c or 2.21 per cent to $2.66. But Millennium & Copthorne Hotels New Zealand rose 7c or 2.86 per cent to $2.52.

Amongst other energy stocks, Mercury was up 12c or 1.92 per cent to $6.37; Genesis declined 7.5c or 2.16 per cent to $3.395; Trustpower lost 8c to $8.22; and Vector decreased 11c or 2.69 per cent to $3.98.

Ryman Healthcare rose 50c or 3.29 per cent to $15.70; fellow retirement village operator Oceania Healthcare was up 4c or 3.1 per cent to $1.33; and Summerset Group Holdings was down 6c to $11.84.

Mainfreight increased 19c to $67.69; Delegat Group gained 26c or 1.81 per cent to $4.66; the ever-rebounding Restaurant Brands picked up 44c or 3.41 per cent to $13.35; and Scales Corporation was up 4c to $4.59.

The interest rate-sensitive Spark fell 8c to $4.445; Port of Tauranga was down 8c to $7.52; The Warehouse Group declined 9c or 2.42 per cent to $3.63; fellow retailer Briscoe Group decreased 8c to $5.62; and NZX was down 3c to $2.06 on the eve of its latest annual meeting.

Marketing data company Solution Dynamics rose 10c or 3.28 per cent to $3.15; transport software firm EROAD gained 9c or 1.95 per cent to $4.71; and Evolve Education increased 4c or 3.15 per cent to $1.31.

AFT Pharmaceuticals slipped 3c to $4.27 after announcing further distribution deals in Europe for its pain relief Maxigesic products – this time in Poland through Mercapharm and Greece through Vianex S.A. AFT is now selling in 23 of the 27 European Union member states.

Radius Residential Care is buying 4.3ha of land in Belfast, Christchurch for an aged-care and retirement village, featuring 70 care beds, 30 care suites and 94 units. Radius’ share price was unchanged at $1.01.

Sky Network Television has arranged an expanded multi-year deal with NBCUniversal for movies and television shows, and its share price edged ahead 0.001c to 18.1c.

Kiwi Property, whose $3.3 billion portfolio has been revalued by $100m for the six months ending March, has formed a joint venture with Tainui Group Holdings to redevelop the mixed-use Centre Place North in downtown Hamilton. Kiwi’s share price slipped 0.005c to $1.23.

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