New Zealand shares rose, with Fletcher Building in a trading halt ahead of an announcement on Monday, while New Zealand Refining dropped after BP New Zealand Holdings sold down its stake. The S&P/NZX 50 index gained 6.17 points, or 0.09 per cent, to 7158.15. Within the index, 31 stocks rose, 14 fell and three were unchanged. Turnover was $381.2 million, with trading boosted by NZ Refining, Sky Network Television and Spark New Zealand.
Fletcher Building gained 1 per cent to $9.22 before being placed in a trading halt minutes after the market opened for what it said was a review of the financial performance of its construction division and the impact on earnings guidance previously provided to the market."We'll find out on Monday what that means, but it doesn't sound good," said Mark Lister, head of private wealth research at Craigs Investment Partners. "It's a little bit unusual to go into a trading halt just because you're putting out an update. I'm not sure why they've been forced into that for a whole day just to provide an update, but my read would be we'll see a downgrade to their earnings forecast for the full year.
"It's a bit of an enigma, to be honest - you've had this wonderful construction backdrop for the last few years and you'd think companies like Fletcher are going great guns, whether it's from the Christchurch rebuild or the housing market, but for whatever reason it doesn't seem to be able to capture and benefit from that," Lister said.
"If you're a building company and you can't make money when things are as they are, you're probably never going to make money."
Goodman Property Trust led the index higher, gaining 1.7 per cent to $1.19, while Kathmandu Holdings gained 1.6 per cent to $1.97 and A2 Milk Co rose 1.5 per cent to $2.68. Spark fell 2.3 per cent to $3.44.
NZ Refining was the worst performer, down 4 per cent to $2.39. BP New Zealand Holdings has sold down more than half its holding in the nation's only oil refinery operator, reducing its stake to 10.09 per cent. "The stock's performing reasonably well. It's holding up solidly above the price that placement was done at so that tells you investors are reasonably comfortable with that story," Lister said.
Sky TV fell 2.8 per cent to $3.49, while Warehouse Group lost 2.6 per cent to $2.29 on its last day on the benchmark index.
"Warehouse hasn't had a great week. It's off a good 5 or 6 per cent this week and coming out of the 50 will probably keep it under a bit of pressure because it won't be on the radar for as many investors," Lister said.
Units in the Fonterra Shareholders' Fund gained 0.5 per cent to $6.35. Fonterra Co-operative Group will get to choose whether to accept supply from new dairy conversions from the 2018/19 season under changes to the Dairy Industry Restructuring Amendment Bill, tabled in Parliament late on Thursday.