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Bullish expectations for A2 Milk lead market higher

By Sophie Boot

The S&P/NZX 50 Index rose 10.32 points, or 0.1 per cent, to 7308.41. Photo / Supplied
The S&P/NZX 50 Index rose 10.32 points, or 0.1 per cent, to 7308.41. Photo / Supplied

New Zealand shares rose for a second day amid bullish expectations for A2 Milk's growth and earnings and after investors welcomed strong inflows for Meridian Energy's hydro lakes.

The S&P/NZX 50 Index rose 10.32 points, or 0.1 per cent, to 7308.41. Within the index, 20 stocks rose, 20 fell and 11 were unchanged. Turnover was $122 million.

A2 rose about 2 per cent to $2.06, leading the index higher. In June, the milk marketer lifted its full-year guidance and said it was well placed to cope with changes to infant formula regulations in China.

"It's a business with a lot of momentum and some pretty interesting products," said James Lindsay, senior portfolio manager at Nikko Asset Management, but there were still some question marks around China's formula regulations.

Meridian gained 1.8 per cent to $2.86. The company said last month that its June hydro storage inflows were at 136 per cent of their historical average.

The shares are up 13 per cent in the past 30 days.

Lindsay says that in the run-up to earnings season "companies seem be doing okay on average" and there have been few "pre-reporting season confessions", or profit downgrades. A number of company shares have been pushed up to their valuations or beyond, making them vulnerable to any big earnings disappointments.

"You can't really be surprised when you've got extraordinarily low interest rates around the world that foreigners might look at Australian and New Zealand equities as offering reasonable yields and not likely to disappoint," he said.

Intueri Education Group sank 24 per cent to 26c after the private training provider's chief executive, Rob Facer, unexpectedly quit, and the company said 2016 earnings were likely to drop 36 per cent.

Restaurant Brands New Zealand advanced 1.6 per cent to $5.59 and Heartland Bank rose 1.5 per cent to $1.37.

Xero gained 1.5 per cent to $20.09 and Property for Industry was up 1.2 per cent to $1.66.

Chorus was the biggest decliner on the index, falling 2.7 per cent to $4.36, and Orion Health Group dropped 1.5 per cent to $4.77.

- BusinessDesk

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