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Current as of 28/02/17 07:39PM NZST

Turnover peaks at $187.3m as traders tidy up portfolios

By Sophie Boot

Air New Zealand was unchanged at $1.86. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Air New Zealand was unchanged at $1.86. Photo / Mark Mitchell

New Zealand shares gained, with turnover peaking for the week as investors tidied their portfolios. Sky Network Television and Scales Corp gained while Meridian Energy fell.

The S&P/NZX 50 Index rose 17.64 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 7.361.09. Within the index, 23 stocks gained, 21 fell and six were unchanged. Turnover was $187.3 million.

"People are tidying up some things, there's quarter-end, month-end stuff, and there appears to be fairly significant intraday volatility in some stocks.

"There's quite decent volume gone through and it appears to be offshore driven," said Craig Stent, director and research analyst at Harbour Asset Management.

Sky led the index, up 3.6 per cent to $4.92, while Scales Corp gained 2.9 per cent to $3.23 and Metlifecare advanced 2.1 per cent to $6.25.

Air New Zealand was unchanged at $1.86. The airline is considering a $75 million retail bond offer next month to partially repay the upcoming maturity of an existing $150 million note, with full details available next week.

At its annual meeting in Christchurch yesterday, it reiterated its warning to shareholders that increased competition will hurt revenue this financial year.

The company has forecast 2017 earnings before tax will be more subdued in the range of $400 million to $600 million, based on a fuel price of US$55 per barrel for the rest of the year, compared to $806 million before significant items and tax in 2016.

Auckland International Airport's shares rose 0.7 per cent to $7.35, and have gained 24 per cent this year, while Air New Zealand's have fallen 29.3 per cent in the year.

Heartland Bank was the worst performer, down 2 per cent to $1.51. Xero dropped 1.8 per cent to $19.35 and Tower fell 1.6 per cent to 92.5 cents. Meridian Energy dropped 0.8 per cent to $2.60. Some 9.2 million shares in the company were traded, worth $23.6 million. The stock fell as low as $2.56 and bounced as high as $2.63 in the day's trading.

In the past month or so the market theme has been for yield or yield-related stocks such as the gentailers and Spark to come under selling pressure, Stent said.

"That reflects that interest rate rises may be just around the corner from the Fed," he said. Outside the main index, Intueri Education Group dropped 5 per cent to 11.4 cents. ACC sold more than 1 million shares this week, reducing its holding to 3.8 per cent, one of several sellers in the wake of a cascade of bad news.

Intueri told the market this week that its Australian schools are at risk of being struck off for failing to comply with standards.

- BusinessDesk

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