New Zealand stocks rose, led higher by Fletcher Building as the construction company extended a recent rally. Metro Performance Glass jumped 13 per cent after meeting its downgraded earnings guidance.
The S&P/NZX 50 Index increased 25.93 points, or 0.3 per cent, to 10,263.41. Within the index, 20 stocks rose, 22 fell, and eight were unchanged. Turnover was $102 million.
Fletcher rose 3 per cent to $5.46 on a volume of 2.5 million shares, more than twice its 90-day average of 1.2 million. The country's biggest listed building company has climbed 6.8 per cent since May 17, when a Deloitte report showed building material costs for residential construction were lower than is often claimed.
Grant Williamson, a director at Hamilton Hindin Greene, said the company still has a way to go in regaining investor confidence after its slump last year. He warned the current environment for the sector remains tough, pointing to Steel & Tube Holdings' earnings downgrade on Monday.
"That sector still has quite a few headwinds," he said. Steel & Tube was unchanged at $1.03, having dropped from $1.23 before cutting its earnings outlook.
Outside the benchmark index, Metro Performance Glass rose 5 cents to 45 cents. It reported a 69 per cent slide in annual profit and met its downgraded earnings guidance, as the glass products maker struggles with issues at its Australian business.
Williamson said the company has been a big underperformer for some time, but that investors appeared to be encouraged by the new management team's plans to turn it around.
Spark New Zealand was the most traded stock on a volume of 3.4 million shares, less than its 5.8 million average. The telco rose 0.5 per cent to $3.80. Today, it received a warning from the Commerce Commission over the way it raised broadband prices on copper-based broadband last year, without telling customers they could cancel their agreements.
Chorus, the telecommunications network operator, fell 0.9 per cent to $5.71, extending this week's decline after investors were wary over the Commerce Commission's consultation on proposed input methodologies for the fibre network.
Chorus's 2028 bonds paying annual interest of 4.35 per cent were the most traded debt security. They closed at a yield of 3.31 per cent, down 5 basis points, on a volume of 507,000 notes.
Argosy Property fell 1.8 per cent to $1.35 on a volume of 1.1 million shares, more than its 456,000 average. It reported a 36 per cent increase in annual profit and is paying a bigger dividend than previously signalled.
Williamson said Argosy had benefited from strong investor demand for companies paying reliable dividends, and that the stock had come off a record high.
Among yield stocks that gained today, Precinct Properties New Zealand was up 1.8 per cent at $1.69, Contact Energy rose 1.4 per cent to $7.35, Auckland International Airport increased 1.3 per cent to $8.65 and Stride Property increased 0.9 per cent to $2.15.
Kiwi Property Group fell 0.3 per cent to $1.545 on a volume of 1.8 million shares. New Zealand Refining rose 0.5 per cent to $2.07 on an unusually large volume of 1.1 million shares compared to its average of 194,000.
Sanford fell 0.4 per cent to $6.75 on a typically small volume of 36,000 shares. It reported an 8 per cent decline in first-half earnings after the death of a crew member kept one of its deep sea vessels in port for three months.
Gentrack Group posted the biggest decline, down 3.1 per cent at $5.58 on a volume of 18,000 shares, less than its usual volume of 76,000. The utilities software developer will report first-half earnings tomorrow.
Freightways fell 1.1 per cent to $8.65 after saying a slowdown in its express packaging unit posed a risk to the 2020 financial year.
Fonterra Shareholders' Fund units increased 0.5 per cent to $4.22, and Fonterra's farmer-owned shares were up 0.2 per cent at $4.22 after the cooperative cut its earnings guidance and narrowed its forecast range for the farmgate payout. Fonterra also said it may sell other assets as it continues to reshape itself under the new leadership team of chief executive Miles Hurrell and chair John Monaghan.
Michael Hill International fell 1.7 per cent to 57 cents, with 5.2 million shares changing hands, compared to the 814,000 average.
Zespri Group shares, which traded on the Unlisted exchange, rose to $7.50 from $7.20. The kiwifruit marketer lifted annual profit 77 per cent on increased global sales and higher licensing fees. It also intends to pay a bigger dividend.