The Business Herald’s markets and banking reporter.

Intueri's journey full of potholes

Investors deserve more than tired cliches.
Exiting Intueri CEO Rob Facer says the company has an exciting future.
Exiting Intueri CEO Rob Facer says the company has an exciting future.

Sportspeople love pulling out the "it's been a journey" cliche when scrambling to say something profound during post-match interviews.

Indeed, one of our women's rugby sevens players used those very words this week following the team's defeat by Australia at the Rio Olympics.

Nothing surprising there.

What did grab the attention of Stock Takes was a version of that meaningless phrase being used by the outgoing boss of Intueri Education Group to describe that company's appalling post-listing history.

The private training provider has missed prospectus forecasts and its shares, which listed at $2.35 in May 2014 and peaked at $3.35 in September of that year, have slumped to close at 23.5c last night.

Intueri is being investigated by the Serious Fraud Office and two of its divisions have been reviewed by the Tertiary Education Commission funding agency. Dividend payments were suspended in February pending the TEC's review.

Despite all of that, Rob Facer seemed to be getting into the Olympic spirit in the press release that announced his sudden departure as Intueri's chief executive on August 5.

"We have taken the organisation on a significant journey since listing," he said, before adding, "this is now an opportunity for the board to pursue some fresh input to shepherd Intueri into the next phase of what I firmly believe is an exciting future."

A journey is one way of putting it, a disaster another.

While tired cliches are to be expected from sports stars, investors deserve more from a CEO who presided over the destruction of hundreds of millions of dollars in shareholder value.

Magic mark

New Zealand's sharemarket crossed an important threshold last month, thanks largely to the unrelenting bull run in equities.

The NZX's total market capitalisation reached $124.6 billion in July, taking it to 50.1 per cent of GDP.

The sharemarket operator said it was "the first time in a very long time" that the ratio had cracked the 50 per cent mark.

"The records in the metrics spreadsheet go back to October 2003 [and] at that point the ratio was 39 per cent," NZX said. "It peaked at 47.3 per cent in January 2007 but the GFC saw this drop as low as 24.3 per cent in February 2009."

The exchange noted that new listings - including those of state-owned enterprises such as Meridian Energy - and the market's sustained bull run had helped it hit the "magic 50 per cent mark".

The S&P/NZX 50 gained 6.5 per cent in July alone and is up 16.3 per cent for the year.

Don't fear

The prospect of Donald Trump moving into the White House has many investors worried.
The prospect of Donald Trump moving into the White House has many investors worried.

The prospect of Donald Trump moving into the White House has many investors worried, even if Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton is leading the polls.

But Craigs Investment Partners has some soothing words for any worried clients in its latest News & Views report.

While a Clinton win would usher in a "business as usual environment" - avoiding the uncertainty markets hate - a Trump victory would be "far from dire for the US economy".

"An increase in fiscal stimulus in the form of government spending and investment would provide a much needed boost to the US economy," the Craigs report said. "Trade protectionism and more restrictive immigration policies would lead to job creation [through lower imports] and wage increases due to fewer workers."

Still, Craigs does see potential for sharemarket volatility following a Trump win.

"The initial uncertainty created by another surprise political result could be significant," the report said.

"All else being equal, we would treat an equity market sell-off triggered by a Trump win as a buying opportunity - once the dust settles, investors will begin to price in higher economic growth, higher wages and higher interest rates in the US."

- NZ Herald

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