Comvita leads in quiet trading

Investors subdued ahead of earnings reports by firms.
Comvita led the index, up 4.1 per cent to $10.78.
Comvita led the index, up 4.1 per cent to $10.78.

New Zealand shares gained in subdued trading ahead of earnings season. Comvita and A2 Milk rose while Steel & Tube Holdings dropped.

The S&P/NZX 50 Index rose 4.43 points, or 0.1 per cent, to 7306.34. Within the index, 30 stocks rose, 18 fell and three were unchanged. Turnover was $124.4 million.

Comvita led the index, up 4.1 per cent to $10.78. The stock has gained 23 per cent this year but dropped to a three-month low of $10.35 on Tuesday.

Mark Lister, head of private wealth research at Craigs Investment Partners, said there may be some bargain-hunting coming into the stock after it dropped for a few weeks.

A2 rose 2.6 per cent to $1.95, while Metro Performance Glass gained 2.2 per cent to $1.90, and New Zealand Refining Co was up 2.1 per cent to $2.45.

Mainfreight advanced 0.9 per cent to $17.10. The transport and logistics group held its annual meeting yesterday.

"The share price reaction is pretty muted. The stock's up marginally," Lister said.

"All it really said was current trading conditions are better than last year and it should have a stronger first-half result, but it's pretty short commentary on the outlook and doesn't give us a lot of direction, hence the share price is relatively unmoved."

Steel & Tube Holdings was the worst performer, down 4.1 per cent to $2.09.

"I think it's still got a few issues to work through - all of those challenges it's been facing with its product in terms of accreditation," Lister said.

"The stock did have a pretty good rally at the end of last month," he said. "It was $1.86 at the start of the month and went up to $2.23, so it's probably fair that some of the heat has come out of it."

Genesis Energy dipped 2.2 per cent to $2.18. Chief executive Marc England, who took up the role in May, has announced an overhaul of his management team with three executives departing and Chris Jewell confirmed as chief financial officer.

Xero dropped 1.8 per cent to $19.58 and Chorus fell 1.8 per cent to $4.46.

Investore Property declined 0.6 per cent to $1.64.

The Stride Property offshoot, which has a large format retail properties portfolio, said yesterday that the Woolworths announcement on Monday that it expects to close six Countdown supermarkets will not affect Investore.

The property investor owns 26 Countdowns and is in the process of buying eight more.

Outside the main index, Energy Mad dropped 3.3 per cent to 5.8c.

The energy-efficient light-bulb maker says it made an unaudited operating profit of $348,000 in the first quarter of financial year 2017, hailing a modest "turning of the corner" as it focuses on meeting demand driven by state-supported schemes in Australia.

- BusinessDesk

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