Top shares finally break losing streak

Trade Me, NZ Refining and Mighty River Power lead gains as benchmark index rises for the first time this year
Trade Me Group shares gained 2.2 per cent to $4.14.  Photo / NZME
Trade Me Group shares gained 2.2 per cent to $4.14. Photo / NZME

New Zealand shares rose for the first time this year, stabilising as turnover strengthened, with Trade Me Group, New Zealand Refining Co, and Mighty River Power gaining while Metro Performance Glass fell.

The S&P/NZX 50 Index rose 9.52 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 6112.34. Within the index, 22 stocks were up, 18 down and 10 were unchanged. Turnover was $114 million.

The index has previously fallen every trading day since the start of 2016, shedding 3.5 per cent over five days as at Monday's close, with global equity markets nervous and oil prices falling daily to hit US$31.31 a barrel of Brent crude.

"The relief rally we've been waiting for hasn't quite kicked in, but it's nice to see some uplift there, and there's a bit more activity in the market," said Greg Easton, adviser at Craigs Investment Partners.

Trade Me Group led the index up, gaining 2.2 per cent to $4.14 - a two-week high. The online auction site announced changes to its fee structure, removing the success fee for items selling for $1 or less, and the success rate changing from a tiered structure to a flat 7.9 per cent for other items, making it more expensive to sell things worth more than $500.

"That has been seen as a positive by the market," Easton said. "We estimate it will add half-to-one million to the bottom line in total, so not hugely significant, but they're responding to what their customers are saying and trying to increase traffic through the site."

New Zealand Refining Co rose 2.2 per cent to $3.68, Mighty River Power advanced 1.4 per cent to $2.81, and Spark New Zealand climbed 1.4 per cent to $3.25.

Metro Performance Glass was the worst performer on the local index yesterday, falling 1.8 per cent to $1.61 - a six-week low. About 6.62 million shares were traded worth $10.7 million.

Reuters data showed around 6.3 million shares, or 3.4 per cent of the 185 million shares issued, were sold in four large transactions, at a price of $1.62.

"It's possibly one shareholder selling their stake," Easton said. "There were three large privately negotiated loans put through the market which account for about six million shares of the six-and-a-half million traded. There's likely a large shareholder selling down a bit, but we don't have much visibility on that as most of it's held in one place."

Fletcher Building dropped 1.7 per cent to $6.76, Z Energy declined 1.2 per cent to $6.38, and Air New Zealand dipped 1.2 per cent to $2.95.

NZAX-listed Pulse Energy shares were unchanged at 10.5c. Buller Electricity has sent a compulsory acquisition notice for the remaining shares in Pulse after becoming the dominant shareholder in the energy retailer.

The South Island lines company became the holder of 90 per cent or more of the voting rights in Pulse on January 8, it told the market. All outstanding shareholders must now sell their shares to Buller.

- BusinessDesk

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