New Zealand shares ended the first half of the year with another down day, stuck in the claws of the bear market. But there was a whiff of excitement with New Zealand King Salmon Investments swatting off takeover speculation.
The S&P/NZX 50 Index meandered to a close of 10,868.7, declining 90.1 points or 0.82 per cent after reaching an intraday high of 10,9656.03.
The index nosedived in the last half hour matching session as investment funds rebalanced their holdings at the end of the June quarter. Volume picked up with 44.99 million share transactions worth $185.94 million.
There were 39 gainers and 90 decliners over the whole market. The index finished the first half of the year down 16.6 per cent. The all-time high of 13,558.19 points, set on January 8 last year, seemed like a distant memory.
Dan Stratful, investment adviser with Forsyth Barr, said any bear market rally looks to have dissipated.
"In this market you tend to get a few positive days with investors thinking the bottom has been reached but it proves to be a false dawn. That's what is happening in the United States.
"All the investors hope for is that interest rates don't go up as much as central banks have been talking about. Investors are beginning to question whether they can raise rates aggressively if the economy deteriorates," Stratful said.
In the US, the leading S&P 500 Index, down nearly 20 per cent in 2022, is on pace for its worst first half of the year since 1970, when the index lost 21.01 per cent.
Consumer and now business confidence continues to fall in New Zealand. The latest ANZ Business Outlook survey showed firms are increasingly pessimistic about activity and profitability. Business confidence fell 7 points to -63 per cent in June, while expected own activity fell 4 points to a net 9 per cent expecting lower activity ahead.
Market leader Fisher and Paykel Healthcare did the heavy lifting, gaining 10c to $19.98 on trade worth $17.37m.
Spark was up 5c to $4.80; Restaurant Brands rose 32c or 3.05 per cent to $10.82; The Warehouse Group collected 6c or 1.81 per cent to $3.38; and Skellerup Holdings continued to rebound, up 8c to $5.29.
New Zealand King Salmon Investments was unchanged at 19.5c after dismissing media reports that they had been approached regarding a potential takeover.
The Australian reported that an investment bank had been appointed to gauge buyer interest for the company. There had been recent takeover activity in the salmon industry in Australia.
Stratful said "any takeover move wouldn't surprise me as private equity funds look around when markets fall and take advantage of a dive in share prices."
Port of Tauranga increased 13c or 2.13 per cent to $6.22, while Napier Port was 10c or 3.51 per cent to $2.75.
Retirement village operators Summerset Group Holdings was down 20c or 2.04 per cent to $9.60; Ryman Healthcare declined 25c or 2.73 per cent to $8.90; and Oceania Healthcare decreased 2c or 2.11 per cent to 93c.
Auckland International Airport fell 20c or 2.71 per cent to $7.18; Ebos Group decreased 39c to $39.01; Chorus lost 7.5c to $7.22; Mainfreight shed $1.15 to $69.90; Synlait Milk declined 10c or 3.11 per cent to $3.12; and Briscoe Group was down 9c to $5.30.
Among the energy stocks, Contact was down 19c or 2.54 per cent to $7.28, and Mercury declined 6.5c to $5.65.
Vulcan Steel declined 13c to $8.57; Harmoney fell 8c or 8.89 per cent to 82c; Scott Technology decreased 14c or 4.7 per cent to $2.8; Scales Corporation shed 11c or 2.47 per cent to $4.34; and Seeka was down 13c or 2.84 per cent to $4.45.
Investore Property, up 1c to $1.59, is undertaking a buyback of 5 per cent of its shares on issue over the next 12 months, saying that at the current share price the buyback programme is a good use of funds.
T&G Global was up 5c or 1.81 per cent to $2.82; NZME gained 3c or 2.38 per cent to $1.29; Turners Automotive collected 11c or 3;.03 per cent to $3.74; and Just Life Group increased 2c or 4.71 per cent to 44.5c.
Chatham Rock Phosphate collected 5c or 15.63 per cent to 37c; while medical cannabis companies Rua Bioscience rose 2.5c or 8.2 per cent to 33c; and Greenfern Industries was up 1.6c or 11.11 per cent to 16c.
NZX and Fonterra, along with European Energy Exchange, have each taken a one-third shareholding in the global dairy auction platform GDT following all the required approvals. NZX's share price was down 2c to $1.60 and Fonterra Shareholders' Fund declined 9c or 2.82 to $1.29.