Money Editor for NZ Herald

Stock Takes: Is the Trump honeymoon over?

Could the markets' honeymoon period with new US president Donald Trump be over already? Photo / 123RF.
Could the markets' honeymoon period with new US president Donald Trump be over already? Photo / 123RF.

Honeymoon over?
Could the market's honeymoon period with Donald Trump be coming to an end?

On Thursday last week analysts were celebrating as the Dow Jones hit an all-time record high as the market surged over 20,000 points.

But after three days of sliding markets, this week looks like a different story.

From a close of 20,100.96 points on January 26 it has fallen to 19,863.09 as of January 31 amid a raft of new policy announcements from Trump including his crack-down on travellers from seven mainly Muslim countries and import tariffs,

While the markets could be taking a breather after such a strong run some suggest it may also be the end of the golden glow the market has had in its relationship with Trump.

America's main markets rallied strongly in the wake of Trump's election on November 8 pulling along other markets including New Zealand's S&P/NZX 50.

So far this year the Dow remains in positive territory up 0.58 per cent for the month of January but the next few weeks will tell if that turns into a negative.

It will be hard to beat the run the Dow Jones has had over the last year rising more than 24 per cent.

The down-turn in recent days has also played out on the NZX50. The local bourse closed on a month high on Friday at 7134.26 but by Tuesday it had slipped to 7050.75 points.

So far this year New Zealand's main market has had a good start up 2.53 per cent for the year to date.

Turbulent ride
American airline stocks have had a rough ride this week on the back of concerns that Trump's travel bans will lead to more restrictions on flights.

On January 27 the new President ordered bans on allowing people from Iraq, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia and Libya to enter America.

It sparked a weekend of chaos and confusion at airports around the world, fuelled by uncertainty over which passengers were barred.

While none of the three biggest US carriers flies to any of the seven countries, their global alliance partners do.

Joe DeNardi, an analyst at Stifel Financial, told Bloomberg investors were fearful the curbs would expand or be answered with retaliation by other nations.

More than 10 per cent has been knocked off the share price of American Airlines Group - America's biggest airline - this week in the wake of the announcement.

While shares in Delta Air Line have dropped more than 7 per cent and United Continental - the parent company of United Airlines - is down over 6 per cent.

Trump has tried to pin the poor share price performance on a technology glitch at Delta which forced it to cancel hundreds of flights earlier this week as well as protesters.

But Delta's interruption didn't occur until two days after his order.

Locally the share price of Air New Zealand appears to have mainly withstood the carnage.

Its share price fell 4c between January 27 and January 31 - a decline of just under 1.9 per cent.

Yesterday its shares edged higher to close at $2.115.

Air New Zealand is unlikely to see many travellers coming from the banned nations via New Zealand travelling to America.

So far people with dual passports/nationality are being allowed to travel to America if they hold a passport from an approved nation like New Zealand.

But Air Zealand's Aussie rival may not be faring as well from the Trump ban.

Qantas shares have fallen A19c from A$3.53 to A$3.24 so far this week - a drop of 5.4 per cent. Yesterday they closed at A$3.30.


End of an era
Kiwi investment company Hellaby Holdings is set to be de-listed from the New Zealand stock exchange by the end of next month after 23 years on the exchange.

Bapcor Finance, a subsidiary of Australian sharemarket listed Bapcor, this week announced it had reached enough acceptances to compulsorily takeover Hellaby after gaining 92.7 per cent of the voting rights in the company.

A Bapcor spokesman said it would apply to the NZX to delist Hellaby immediately following the process of compulsory acquisition, which will be mid-March.

Hellaby owns an eclectic group of business, spanning automotive and resource service companies as well as footwear retailers Hannahs and Number One Shoes.

NZX information shows Hellaby was first listed in 1994 but it had its origins on the market much earlier than that.

According to market expert Brian Gaynor Hellaby was a high-flying 1980s company which started out as Renouf Corporation which listed in 1984.

After reporting a record loss in 1988 due to complications with cross-share holdings in the wake of the 1987 sharemarket crash it was restructured in the early 90s by Tur Borren and Hugh Green at which time the company changed its name to Hellaby Holdings.

Gaynor noted in a column last year that as part of this restructuring, Green acquired a 34 per cent Hellaby stake for just $5m and said the Hellaby takeover offer was probably facilitated by a major split in the Green family following the death of Hugh Green in 2012.

The Green family has already accepted the $3.30 a share offer for its 27.2 per cent holding and will receive $87.7m.

While the investment has made a lot of money for some investors it's another loss for the New Zealand sharemarket.

- NZ Herald

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