The New Zealand sharemarket opened the week with another strong rise as investors continued to focus on the companies reporting solid financial results and much-welcomed dividends.
The S&P/NZX 50 Index shrugged off the Auckland lockdown extension to Sunday night, climbing 85.12 points or 0.72 per cent to 11,921.07, after rising 1.49 per cent last Friday.
The index actually went higher after Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's latest Covid announcement, and it is now only 152 points off its February 21 all-time high of 12,073.34.
There were 94 gainers and 49 decliners over the whole market of 182 stocks, with 61.6 million shares worth $172.06 million changed hands.
Nigel Scott, investment adviser with Craigs Investment Partners, said the market is continuing to show very strong support for companies showing certainty of income and are paying a dividend.
"Wholesale interest rates have gone lower, and investors have so few choices. They are looking for dividend yield and even if it's 4 per cent or under, they will own it. The larger cap stocks are still doing the work. Today it was Chorus and the market supported them."
Network operator Chorus was on song with its full-year result, reporting net profit of $52m, down 2 per cent, on steady revenue of $959m. Ultra-fast broadband connections increased from 610,000 to 751,000 for the year ending, representing income of $393m, up from $294m.
Chorus is paying a final dividend of 14c a share on October 12 – a total of 24c a share for the year - and provided 2021 full-year operating earnings (ebitda) guidance of $640-$660m compared with ebitda of $648m in the last financial year.
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Chorus rose 19.5c or 2.43 per cent to $8.205, and attracted the day's biggest trading by far with $15.9m worth of its shares changing hands. Chorus has now risen 54.11 per cent over the past 12 months. It fell to $5.995 on March 23, the market's lowest day when Covid-19 struck.
Fisher and Paykel Healthcare increased 45c to $35.75 – it has surged 126 per cent in the past 12 months – a2 Milk was up 16c to $20.43; Mainfreight moved ahead 50c to $46.25; and retirement village operator Summerset was up 26c or 3.19 per cent to $8.40 but Ryman Healthcare fell 8 to $13.42.
Skellerup Holdings was up 7c or 2.64 per cent to $2.72 after reporting a strong result last week.
Tourism Holdings had a spurt, rising 13c or 7.3 per cent to $1.91, while medicinal cannabis company Cannasouth gained a further 9c or 10.71 per cent to 93c, having moved from 55c over the past month.
Freightways felt the impact of Covid, with its revenue slipping 3 per cent to $630.94m, from $615.69m and net profit falling 25 per cent to $47.37m, from $63.37m. In a surprise move, it is not paying a final dividend but Freightways has been a consistent performer and its share price increased 7c to $7.10.
Comvita shareholders again missed out on a dividend, but that didn't worry investors. The manuka honey producer reported record revenue of $195.91m for the year ending June, up 14.5 per cent from $171.71m in the previous year, on the back sales growth in China and North America.
Comvita had a net loss of $9.7m, an improvement on the $27.17m loss in the previous year, and its share price jumped 25c or 7.96 per cent to $3.39. Under new chief executive David Banfield it has reorganised the way it operates and shed 90 positions.