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Xero leads share index to new record

Software firm confirms it has enough cash to break even without more capital raising.
Air New Zealand shares closed down 2.2 per cent at $2.18, making the airline the day's worst performer. Picture / Jason Oxenham
Air New Zealand shares closed down 2.2 per cent at $2.18, making the airline the day's worst performer. Picture / Jason Oxenham

New Zealand shares rose to a new record with Xero, Metlifecare and Steel & Tube Holdings gaining while Air New Zealand dropped on its June operating statistics.

The S&P/NZX 50 Index gained 17.84 points, or 0.3 per cent, to 7172.67. Within the index, 30 stocks rose, 14 fell and seven were unchanged. Turnover was $130.4 million.

Xero led the way, up 3.5 per cent to $18.80. The software-as-a-service firm held its annual meeting in Sydney yesterday, where chief executive Rod Drury told investors the company would start offering new services as it seeks to transform the platform founded on accounting software into the online portal of choice for small businesses.

Xero affirmed its previous guidance that it has enough cash in the bank to start breaking even without raising more capital, and Drury said the company would pass 1m customers this year on its path to becoming a $1 billion revenue company.

"It's an exciting company, but it's really a matter of confirming their presence in the United States because that's where they'll really make money, and that's going to be with subscriber rates far higher than the 62,000 which they currently have," said Peter McIntyre, investment adviser at Craigs Investment Partners.

Air New Zealand was the worst performer, down 2.2 per cent to $2.18. In its operating statistics for June, the airline said it carried 4.8 per cent more passengers at 1.215m, but its load factors dipped 0.9 percentage points overall to 80.8 per cent.

"It was possibly a little disappointing, and we've seen the share price weaken - obviously Jetstar is having an impact on domestic performance and that's having an impact on load factor, but in saying that the Tasman routes performed pretty solidly and on long haul the capacity they've added is able to be met," McIntyre said. "The load factors have been trending to the downside for the last couple of months, but we'll get more clarity in late August when their full year comes out."

New Zealand Refining rose 0.4 per cent to $2.57. In its throughput and margin report for May/June, the refinery said it had a gross margin of US$6.26 a barrel, while throughput for the period was 6.8m barrels.

"They're pretty confident numbers out of Refining - their throughput was ahead of the first half of 2015, and their refining margin is at the top end of the historical range - remembering they have a floor and a cap on the margin they can do, and that's based out of the Singapore price," McIntyre said.

Metlifecare gained 2.9 per cent to $5.64, Steel & Tube Holdings rose 2 per cent to $2.02, and Heartland Bank advanced 1.6 per cent to $1.31.

Westpac Banking Corp gained 0.5 per cent to $32.14. The bank has announced that it will not take any new loan applications from property investors who do not have a 40 per cent deposit as of yesterday afternoon.

Vital Healthcare Property Trust was unchanged at $2.20. It has raised $160m after its existing investors took up 87 per cent of the units in a two-for-nine renounceable rights offer.

Tower dropped 2.2 per cent to $1.35 and Comvita fell 1.3 per cent to $11.06.

- BusinessDesk

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