New Zealand shares inched to a fresh record ahead of tomorrow's bumper results day, led higher by Vector and A2 Milk Co.
The S&P/NZX50 Index rose 6.63 points, or 0.07 per cent, to 9,115.78. Within the index, 21 stocks rose, 21 fell and eight were unchanged. Turnover was $106.8 million.
Vector led the index higher, up 2.7 per cent to $3.37. A2 Milk Co rose 1.8 per cent to $11.13 ahead of its earnings announcement tomorrow, while NZX gained 1.8 per cent to $1.12.
Also due to report earnings tomorrow are Meridian Energy, which rose 1.3 per cent to $3.25; Trade Me, which rose 0.2 per cent to $4.71; Spark New Zealand, which fell 0.3 per cent to $3.98; and Fletcher Building, which dropped 1.4 per cent to $6.90.
Westpac Banking Corp was the worst performer, down 2.3 per cent to $32.50.
Comvita dropped 0.9 per cent to $5.65. It turned to a full-year operating profit from a loss a year earlier and said it has a positive outlook for the current financial year as it invests in mānuka honey supply.
New Zealand's only listed honey company posted an after-tax operating profit of $9.3m in the year ended June 30, within its forecast range of $8m-to-$11m, and marking a turnaround from a loss of $5.5m in the year-earlier period.
"It was pretty much within expectations, I don't think there was too much in way of surprises - it was never going to be fantastic," said Grant Williamson, director at Hamilton Hindin Greene.
"Probably slightly lower end of the guidance range, it was just another bad honey season."
Mercury New Zealand dipped 0.2 per cent to $3.405. It reported a record $561 million in operating earnings on the back of record generation and high wholesale power prices.
The company, the country's third-largest power and gas retailer by accounts, reported a 27 per cent increase in net profit to $234m for the year ended June 30, from $184m a year earlier. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, amortisation and changes in financial instruments rose to a record $561m, up 7 per cent from $523m a year earlier.
"Not much in way of surprises there, but a very strong result," Williamson said.
"The shareholders will be pretty happy though there has been no strong buying today. They certainly met expectations, maybe slightly exceeded but it's not enough to get people buying."
Pushpay Holdings fell 1.7 per cent to $3.41. The stock has dropped 18 per cent since August 1, when the company delivered first-quarter revenue within guidance and reshuffled its senior management after another abrupt executive exit.
"The share price has certainly been under a bit of pressure, although it did go up pretty strongly throughout most of 2018," Williamson said.
"It's still well up for the year, but maybe expectations got a little carried away."
Outside the benchmark index, SeaDragon was unchanged at 3 cents. The struggling fish oil manufacturer is calling on its shareholders to pay a 10 per cent premium to participate in a $14.9 million pro-rata renounceable offer to help it stay afloat.