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A2 Milk leads the way as market rises

The S&P/NZX50 Index rose 27.97 points, or 0.4 per cent, to 7074.94.
The S&P/NZX50 Index rose 27.97 points, or 0.4 per cent, to 7074.94.

New Zealand shares rose, with A2 Milk Co and high-yielding stocks such as Contact Energy and Genesis Energy gaining, with market activity still quiet ahead of February's reporting season.

The S&P/NZX50 Index rose 27.97 points, or 0.4 per cent, to 7074.94. Within the index, 28 stocks rose, 14 fell and eight were unchanged.

Turnover was $85 million.

"I suspect a lot of fund managers and investors are still drifting back into the office this week," said Mark Lister, head of private wealth research at Craigs Investment Partners.

"I'm expecting it to be a bit subdued ahead of the reporting season, we've got the US market closed overnight so there's not a lot of drivers from offshore but our market has had a pretty good start to the year now, up about 2.5 per cent, following a weak finish last year. Our reporting season is really the next key driver for the local market."

A2 Milk Co led the index, up 3.6 per cent to $2.30. The stock has recovered after being sold off amidst uncertainty about ASX-listed Bellamy's Australia.

Last week, Bellamy's shares plunged when it cut its profit forecast for the second time and announced chief executive Laura McBain's exit.

"They seem to be performing well after the issues their competitor Bellamy's has had over in Australia. Investors have taken heart from the fact they seem company-specific rather than sector wide issues so A2's had a bit of an uplift today," Lister said.

Some higher-yielding stocks, which had been under pressure when interest rates rallied strongly into the end of 2016, rose today as interest rates begin to come down somewhat, Lister said. Contact Energy gained 1.4 per cent to $4.95, Genesis Energy rose 0.9 per cent to $2.17 and Auckland Airport advanced 0.5 per cent to $6.755.

Infratil rose 2 per cent to $2.865 and Summerset Group Holdings gained 2 per cent to $4.68.

Kiwi Property was the worst performer, down 1.4 per cent to $1.415. Vector dropped 1.2 per cent to $3.24 and Vital Healthcare Property Trust fell 1.2 per cent to $2.065.

Outside the benchmark index, Hellaby Holdings gained 0.3 per cent to $3.58. Its independent directors now support a takeover bid by ASX-listed auto parts firm Bapcor after the offer was declared unconditional. Bapcor wants Hellaby for its automotive business and plans to sell its equipment, resources and footwear businesses. On Friday Bapcor declared the $3.60-per-share offer unconditional, after it secured more than 50 per cent of the shares, and extended the closing date to February 7. As of today, it owned 56 per cent of Hellaby.

Veritas Investments was unchanged at 20c. ANZ Bank NZ has agreed to extend the deadline for Veritas to either sell or begin winding up its Nosh food supermarkets until the end of the month. The shares have dropped 60 per cent in the past year.

- BusinessDesk

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