With the end of the year nearly upon us Stock Takes thought it would be a good time to look back at the good, the bad and the ugly of 2017.

The Good

The NZX/S&P50 index looks set to have its best year this year in the last five years. So far the gross index is up over 20 per cent - more than double last year's 9 per cent return for the year.

With just a few weeks to go it will interesting to see whether 2017 will beat 2012 - when the index rose 24.3 per cent.

The stand-out performer of the share market for this year without a doubt has got to be A2 Milk.


Once thought of as a bit of an odd company with its focus on milk with the A2 beta-casein protein, A2 has turned into a swan this year and taken flight.

Castle Point fund manager Stephen Bennie says A2's endless series of profit upgrades on the back of booming infant formula sales into China has seen the company's share price more than treble.

"This year, A2 Milk has turned into a global success story and one of New Zealand's largest companies. That's about as good as a company can do!"

A2's shares are up more than 260 per cent in the last year.

Harbour Asset Management's Shane Solly says A2 has continued to grow its market footprint much faster than people thought it could.

"People take that for granted. but it is a very difficult thing to do."

And Solly believes the company will keep going in the foreseeable future too.

"The company has done a good job in executing for its clients"

Others worthy of a mention include Auckland Airport and Air New Zealand who both weathered the fuel crisis and Mainfreight which has had to deal with fallout from the Kaikoura quake.

The Bad

But of course not everything has gone right in the publicly listed sector.

Top of the list for disaster's this year has been Fletcher Building. Millions of dollars was wiped of the company's value after it made two profit down-grades on the back of construction project woes.

Bennie said the it had been a dire year for the company.

"The previous CEO managed to quite literally throw very large amounts of money into really big holes in the ground, never to be seen again.

"This state of affairs is notably bad because at this point in the business cycle Fletchers should be carding record earnings not $100m write downs."

Solly said outages on the NZX itself had caused a fair amount of frustration this year.

"When you look at this being a really important part of the financial system...it is like saying I went to the bank to take money out and the bank was closed."

A lack of new listings for the share market was also a negative with just one new equity listing this year.

Solly said that was disappointing although it was not all about quantity with quality listings important as well.

And the Ugly

Xero's announcement that it would leave the NZX behind it next year has been a very ugly situation.

The move has upset fund managers and resulted in calls for a special meeting to vote on the decision.

Chief executive Rod Drury has defended the decision saying its focus on its Australian share market listings is in the best interests of investors.

For Bennie things don't come a lot uglier than Veritas Investments, the owner of the Mad Butcher chain.

Its shares have fallen 80 per cent this year knocking the stuffing out of its poor shareholders.

"The market capitalisation of that business has fallen to just $2m which is an alarmingly smaller number than the $27m it owes the ANZ bank."

"It's very much on the chopping block."

Solly also points to Metro Performance Glass which he said had failed to meet expectations and had not delivered in the one of the biggest demand periods for the building sector.