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Current as of 26/10/16 01:59PM NZST

Trading quiet as investors mull results

By Jonathan Underhill

The S&P/NZX50 Index dropped 2.09 points, or 0.03 per cent, to 6907.77. Photo / Supplied
The S&P/NZX50 Index dropped 2.09 points, or 0.03 per cent, to 6907.77. Photo / Supplied

New Zealand shares were mixed on a relatively quiet Monday as the market digested results posted by companies with a March 31 balance date. Orion Health Group dropped while Comvita and Sky Network Television gained.

The S&P/NZX50 Index dropped 2.09 points, or 0.03 per cent, to 6907.77. Within the index, 21 stocks rose, 18 fell and 11 were unchanged. Turnover was $109 million.

"During reporting season, our market tends to go into a bit of a lull volume-wise as people work their way through results and then reassess afterwards," said Rickey Ward, New Zealand equity manager at JBWere.

Orion Health dropped 2.2 per cent to $4.56. The Auckland-based company posted a loss of $54.4 million in the 12 months ended March 31, from a loss of $60.8 million a year earlier.

The health software developer said it's targeting a return to profit in 2018 after reporting a 26 per cent increase in annual revenue as a weaker New Zealand dollar bolstered returns and a smaller tax expense helped narrow its loss.

Air New Zealand was the worst performer, down 2.8 per cent to $2.21.

Fletcher Building fell 1.9 per cent to $8.44, Xero shed 1.8 per cent to $16.70, and Coats Group declined 1.6 per cent to 62c.

Summerset Group dropped 0.2 per cent to $4.67. The Wellington-based company plans to build a second retirement village in Nelson after buying an 8ha site in Richmond. No price was disclosed for the purchase.

Comvita gained 4.3 per cent to $12.85, an all-time high, and has risen 46.7 per cent this year.

"It went into an index not that long ago, liquidity's pretty thin on that stock and they had a pretty good result, so there's a liquidity squeeze on that," Ward said. "It's really one of those difficult stocks to get into."

Mainfreight rose 1.8 per cent to $16.39 while Vector advanced 1.8 per cent to $3.42.

Sky TV gained 1.4 per cent to $4.27.

Outside the main index, Abano Healthcare Group gained 1.3 per cent to $7.75. The listed medical and dental centre investor has agreed to sell its 50 per cent stake in audiology company Bay International to interests associated with Peter Hutson for $32 million and said earnings would be at the top end of guidance.

NPT advanced 1.5 per cent to 69c. The listed property investor reported a 1 per cent gain in full-year distributable profit and said it will lift its dividends for 2017.

Sanford was unchanged at $5.65. The country's largest listed fishing group will book a $5 million impairment charge on the sale of its last Pacific Tuna vessel when it reports half-year earnings on Thursday.

Evolve Education Group shed 3.9 per cent to $1. The childcare operator turned to a profit in its latest year, although earnings undershot the target in its 2014 prospectus because of acquisition-related costs.

- BusinessDesk

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