A quiet New Zealand sharemarket caught the end-of-week Fridayitis and closed with a small loss on light trading – and a2 Milk took another dip.
The S&P/NZX 50 Index was down 21.74 points or 0.17 per cent to 12,729.92, after trading in a narrow range with an intraday low of 12,699.67. There were 63 gainers and 68 decliners over the whole market of 186 stocks on volume of 36.41 million share transactions worth $124.39 million.
Matt Goodson, managing director of Salt Funds Management, said it was a fairly directionless day. There were some flows into (Smartshares) passive investment funds earlier in the week and now it's pretty quiet.
"There will be a flurry of information on latest company earnings over the next two weeks to liven up the market," Goodson said.
Global marketer a2 Milk will learn its MSCI global index fate next week, and it continued to slide, falling 13c or 1.68 per cent to $7.56, after reaching an intraday high of $7.84. Analysts are expecting struggling a2 Milk to be removed as one of seven New Zealand constituents on the index.
On a day of few major movements among stocks, Ebos Group rose 36c to $30.61; Fletcher Building was up 10c to $7.38; Port of Tauranga gained 10c to $7.51; Freightways climbed 9c to $11.29; Sanford picked up 10c or 2.15 per cent to $4.75; and Skellerup Holdings increased 4c to $4.52.
Z Energy, which posted a strong profit increase the day before, rose 6c or 2.18 per cent to $2.81; Kathmandu Holdings gained 4c or 2.63 per cent to $1.56; and Accordant Group was up 3c or 2.16 per cent to $1.42.
The banks had better days, with ANZ Banking Group rising 18c to $29.98, and Westpac Banking Corporation gaining 19c to $28.11. The Fonterra Shareholders' Fund – caught in a capital restructuring by its parent company – fell 30c or 6.52 per cent to $4.30.
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Retirement village operators Ryman Healthcare was down 19c to $14.24, and Summerset Group Holdings declined 18c to $12.10.
Meridian Energy fell 13c or 2.38 per cent to $5.33; Pushpay Holdings lost 7c or 3.91 per cent to $1.72; Napier Port shed 6c or 2.26 per cent to $3.48; Vista Group was down 6c or 2.44 per cent to $2.40; and Serko decreased 21c or 3.16 per cent to $6.44.
Contact posted a solid April operating report and its share price slipped 1c to $7.73. Retail electricity and gas sales were 305GWh compared with 300 GWh for the same month last year, and wholesale electricity sales totalled 655GWh (548GWh). South Island hydro storage was 61 per cent and North Island 37 per cent.
Briscoe Group, which gained 2c to $5.66, reported first quarter sales to May 2 of $173.1m, up 78.42 per cent on the previous corresponding period but during that time stores were closed for 33 days because of Covid-19. Compared with the first quarter of 2019, latest sales were up 14.94 per cent.
Argosy Property told the market it recorded a portfolio revaluation gain of $157.7m, an 8.5 per cent increase over book value, for the year ending March. Of this, $79.8m was booked in the September interim result, and Argosy's share price gained 1.5c to $1.53. Precinct Properties was up 2c to $1.68.
Wellington Drive Technologies, which makes electronically controlled motors, has appointed Greg Balla, previously chief operating officer for Orion Health, as its new chief executive, starting in September. Wellington Drive's share price edged ahead 0.001c to 9.1c.
Skincare provider Blis Technologies gained 0.002c or 3.17 per cent to 6.5c, having obtained approval from the Indian Food Safety and Standards Authority to use its probiotic strains in health supplements. Blis has ended its distribution deal in Australia with iNova Pharmaceuticals and is talking with a new partner to build a stronger online presence, as well supply pharmacies.