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Current as of 21/10/16 07:39PM NZST

Big banks lead stocks to record high

By Jonathan Underhill

ANZ Bank rallied 2.8 per cent to $28.27. Photo / NZME
ANZ Bank rallied 2.8 per cent to $28.27. Photo / NZME

New Zealand shares rose, pushing the S&P/NZX 50 Index to a new record on optimism the lack of profit warnings running into earnings season means companies are less likely to disappoint the market.

ANZ Banking Group, Westpac Banking Corp, Mercury NZ and Ebos Group led gainers.

The S&P/NZX 50 Index rose 14.86 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 7363.16, bringing its gain this year to more than 16 per cent.

Within the index, 23 stocks rose, 20 fell and eight were unchanged. Turnover was $122 million.

ANZ Bank rose 2.8 per cent to $28.27. Westpac rose 1.7 per cent to $33.14. Heartland Bank fell 1.4 per cent to $1.38.

Mercury gained 2.7 per cent to $3.10, leading gains among energy-related companies. Genesis Energy rose 0.9 per cent to $2.29 and Meridian Energy advanced 0.9 per cent to $2.92.

NZ Refining gained 1.2 per cent to $2.58 and TrustPower rose 0.6 per cent to $8.22. Infratil, which has a controlling stake in TrustPower, rose 0.2 per cent to $3.385.

Ebos rose 2.65 per cent to $17.40

Stocks in the index are currently trading at an average price-earnings ratio of 20, suggesting investors are bullish about the outlook.

David Price, a broker at Forsyth Barr, said his firm saw "double-digit growth looking through next year".

"So we will need slightly more positive outlook statements to justify where the market is," Price said. "Historically, the multiples we're trading at now appear expensive."

New Zealand equities continue to be one of the world's strongest-performing markets and that has underpinned overseas demand, especially for larger stocks, he said.

Kathmandu extended its gains, rising 1.6 per cent to $1.96. Last week, the retailer said its annual profit rose as much as 67 per cent on fatter margins. Net profit was between $33 million and $34 million in the 12 months ended July 31, up from $20.4 million a year earlier.

Property for Industry gained 0.6 per cent to $1.67 after announcing that first-half distributable earnings lifted 17 per cent as lower interest rates helped cut costs and lease reviews and new purchases lifted rental income.

PGG Wrightson fell 5.6 per cent to 51c after the rural services firm controlled by New York Stock Exchange-listed Agria Corp, posted a 20 per cent gain in full-year profit, largely by paying less tax, while a weaker dairy sector contributed to a decline in sales.

Trade Me Group was the biggest decliner on the NZX 50, falling about 2 per cent to $4.92.

Orion Health Group dropped 1.5 per cent to $4.70.

- BusinessDesk

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