Stockmarket flat as investors see no reason to buy

By Sophie Boot

Shares in Spark closed up 1.9 per cent at $3.52. Photo / Greg Bowker
Shares in Spark closed up 1.9 per cent at $3.52. Photo / Greg Bowker

New Zealand shares were flat as investors saw no reason to buy, with Trade Me Group dropping alongside Infratil and Summerset Group Holdings while Metro Performance Glass rose.

The S&P/NZX50 dropped 2.75 points, or 0.04 per cent, to 6973.78. Within the index, 24 stocks rose, 18 fell and eight were unchanged. Turnover was $158.9 million.

"There's no real reason for offshore investors to own stocks if they're concerned about where the market is heading. They're just paying dividends and they can always buy back in again," said Peter McIntyre, investment adviser at Craigs Investment Partners.

"We've also seen broad sell-offs in government bonds, which seems driven by a desire from American investors to repatriate funds before the election there. The market's still pricing a rate cut in November -- swap rates have all risen too, and that's feeding through into the equity market. We're just waiting for some good affirmative comment from AGMs."

Trade Me was the worst performer, down 4.9 per cent to $4.87, a three-month low. It's declined 17 per cent since reaching a record of $5.86 in September.

"There are concerns over competition from Facebook entering what has pretty much been Trade Me's domain for a period of time," McIntyre said.

"We're seeing movement on brisk volume, and you'd have to suspect there have been offshore moves in that stock as well, moving money away, for such a dramatic drop."

Infratil declined 2.5 per cent to $2.96, Summerset Group Holdings fell 1.7 per cent to $4.61 and Orion Health Group dropped 1.6 per cent to $3.15.

Port of Tauranga was unchanged at $3.80. It expects full-year earnings in the range of $79 million to $83 million, an increase on the $77.3 million reported for 2016, according to a transcript of a speech published to the NZX.

Sky Network Television rose 0.4 per cent to $4.78. Chief executive John Fellet hit out at submissions opposing the pay-television broadcaster's planned $3.44 billion merger with Vodafone at its annual meeting yesterday. Fellet said the merger was on track, with the Commerce Commission not yet changing its November 11 target date for a decision.

Metro Performance Glass was the best performer, up 1.9 per cent to $2.16, something McIntyre said could be the result of Fletcher Building presenting to investors and talking up the strong construction sector.

Spark rose 1.9 per cent to $3.52, Auckland International Airport gained 1.7 per cent to $6.72 and Chorus advanced 1.6 per cent to $3.72.

Outside the benchmark index, Wynyard Group was unchanged at 21.5c. The crime-fighting and intelligence software company yesterday extended its trading halt until Tuesday as it seeks to tap a $10 million stand-by loan facility agreed with Skipton Building Society in August.

Childrenswear retailer Pumpkin Patch plunged 16.7 per cent to 6c. The shares fell on the deadline for directors to propose measures to address its capital constraints with lender ANZ. The constraints were highlighted in its full-year accounts as a "material risk" to the ongoing viability of the business.

- BusinessDesk

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