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Current as of 02/12/16 07:39PM NZST

Shares bounce back with Asian rally

By Sophie Boot

Westpac Banking Corp rose 2.6 per cent to $32. Photo / Michael Cunningham
Westpac Banking Corp rose 2.6 per cent to $32. Photo / Michael Cunningham

New Zealand shares bounced off a four-month low, led up by Metro Performance Glass, A2 Milk Co and Z Energy, as part of an Asian rally.

The S&P/NZX 50 Index gained 163.79 points, or 2.4 per cent, to 6,872.26. Within the index, 46 stocks rose and five fell. Turnover was $147.2 million.

The local market has been sold off in the past month as foreign and domestic investors have sold heavily in the expectation that the low interest rate environment enjoyed by the market for some years is ending, with the US Federal Reserve expected to raise interest rates this year.

Metro Performance Glass was the best performer on the index, up 7 per cent to $2.14, while A2 Milk Co gained 6.5 per cent to $1.97 and Z Energy rose 4.6 per cent to $7.72.

"We're seeing some evidence that the selling we've seen in the past few weeks has run its course for now," said Shane Solly, director at Harbour Asset Management.

"Our market has seen a pretty big pullback - inflation's starting to rear its head, there's still things to get concerned about, but New Zealand has had a pretty aggressive sell-off and people are pausing now to see what the next few events might look like."

The US Federal Bureau of Investigation confirmed no criminal charges are warranted against Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Global markets have become increasingly unsettled at the prospect of Clinton's rival, Donald Trump, succeeding in his bid for the White House since a letter from FBI director James Comey announced the FBI was reviewing emails found in the unrelated investigation into Anthony Weiner.

"There's no doubt the market has become very nervous about a Trump-Brexit-type event, and the anti-trade component that brings has created a lot of uncertainty," Solly said. Markets across Asia advanced following the news.

Westpac Banking Corp rose 2.6 per cent to $32. Its NZ division posted a 4 per cent fall in annual earnings as lenders give up margin in the hunt for mortgage customers.

SkyCity Entertainment Group advanced 1.4 per cent to $3.67. NZ's dominant casino company appointed Graeme Stephens as its new chief, replacing Nigel Morrison who resigned in April after eight years.

Trade Me Group gained 1.1 per cent to $4.52. The online auction site has bought $670,000 of shares in peer-to-peer lender Harmoney Corp to keep its stake at 14.4 per cent.

Tilt Renewables was the worst performer on the index, down 2.4 per cent to $2.05. The company, which split from Trustpower last month and operates wind and solar generation facilities, lifted first-half profit 1.7 per cent as wind generation improved in both Australia and New Zealand.

"It's very early days, there's some great long-term opportunities but it has seen, as the demerger process has occurred, some people have decided Tilt is not for them," Solly said. "That's the process you quite often see when you see separation of vehicles ... you see that separation anxiety."

Trustpower gained 0.4 per cent to $4.81. It posted a 7.6 per cent decline in first-half profit on a demerged basis, in the face of rising operating expenses and costs related to the split.

- BusinessDesk

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