Dick Smith

's pain appears to have been

JB Hi-Fi

's gain, if a stock surge by JB is anything to go by.


Unless you've spent the past couple of weeks under a rock, you'll probably be aware of Dick Smith's collapse.

Receivers Ferrier Hodgson took over on January 5, with the transtasman electronics seller owing A$390 million to creditors.

JB shares came under pressure last month, when an ultimately unsuccessful pre-Christmas clearance sale launched by a desperate, over-stocked Dick Smith sparked fears of a margin-sapping price war in the wider sector.

But as of 5pm yesterday, the stock had been the second best-performer on the S&P/ASX 200 in the year-to-date, gaining 16 per cent to A$22.63 while the index had fallen 7.9 per cent.

Harvey Norman shares have gained 4.4 per cent this year.

In a note to clients reported by the Sydney Morning Herald, CLSA analyst David Thomas said that while JB and Harvey Norman could benefit from potential closures of Dick Smith outlets, JB would probably be the main winner.

"Its offering most closely matches Dick Smith in terms of store locations and category mix," Thomas said.

However, JB is reportedly one of the most popular stocks on the ASX 200 for short sellers - traders placing bets on the share price falling, suggesting not everyone in the market is expecting the firm's strong share price run to continue.

And there's always the distant possibility that Dick Smith could emerge from receivership with a new owner and reclaim its former glory.

Oil glut gains

As oil continues to slump, two analysts have bumped up their price targets for Air New Zealand, a major beneficiary of the glut in the commodity.

UBS' Marcus Curley and Macquarie's Nick Mar this week moved their 12-month targets to $3.40 from $3.25 and $3.10, respectively.

The stock closed up 1.5 per cent at $3.115 last night.

Air New Zealand shares have shrugged-off the January sell-off. As of market close last night, they'd gained 5.4 per cent this month, making the national carrier the best-performing S&P/NZX 50 constituent in 2016 and one of only seven stocks in the index to post gains this year.

"We still think AIR is in an upgrade cycle (particularly consensus) with tailwinds from fuel," Mar said in a note.

Oil prices have plunged to 12-year lows on the back of oversupply and tepid demand.

Fuel accounts for about a third of Air New Zealand's operating costs.

Optimistic bears

It's been a truly awful start to the year for investors, with markets tumbling in a turbulent bout of risk aversion sparked by fears about everything from China's economic rebalancing to slumping oil prices.

But Auckland fund manager Castle Point has had a go at compiling an optimist's guide to "2016 and beyond" in its latest note to clients.

One of their takes is that the inevitable arrival of the next bear market will provide the buying opportunity of a lifetime.

"When the next bear market comes, history suggests that it will be a big one," the note said.

Craigs Investment Partners reckons this month's market volatility has already resulted in buying opportunities in "over-sold" Aussie stocks, including ANZ, Westfield, and Amcor.

"We believe it is time for investors to consider doing some selective buying," the brokerage said in a note.

Way to go yet

While some equity markets - including those in China and Japan - have already entered bear territory (a drop of 20 per cent or more from a recent peak) this year, the NZX 50 isn't even close to that point.

At the close last night, the local benchmark index was down 3.9 per cent on its December 31 record close.

That's a far less precipitous decline than the ASX 200's 7.9 per cent year-to-date fall, or the 9 per cent drop by Wall Street's S&P 500.

JBWere investment strategist Bernard Doyle said it would take a major economic shock to spark a bear market in local shares.

"When you look at the fundamentals here, shares are a little bit expensive but the economy's in reasonable shape and we've got reasonably sustainable dividend support," Doyle said.