Market close: Property stocks light up NZ sharemarket

Property companies Argosy, Stride and Vital Healthcare lit up the New Zealand sharemarket on the promise that they may be included in the main global real estate index.

Stride and Argosy both hit new highs as the S&P/NZX 50 Index closed the week at 12,711.84, up 28.2 points of 0.22 per cent. There were 70 gainers and 58 decliners over the whole market on volume of 49.3 million share transactions worth $187 million.

Stride rose 9c or 3.66 per cent to $2.55; Argosy was up 5c or 3.07 per cent to $1.68; and Vital Healthcare increased 13c or 4.10 per cent to $3.30 on news that the FTSE EPRA/Nareit Global Real Estate Index was lowering its criteria for inclusion.

It is a market capitalisation-weighted index designed to track the performance of listed property companies in both developed and emerging countries worldwide. The constituents are admitted on liquidity, size and revenue.

Matt Goodson, managing director of Salt Funds Management, said the price movements of the property companies illustrate the sheer size of investing by passive funds in this current market.

Argosy has increased 27c this week; Vital Healthcare, nearing its high of $3.37 set on January 25, rose 26c; and Stride was up 19c – all in the range of increasing nearly 10 per cent.

Goodson said “we won’t know till the start of September which stocks are going into the index but Argosy, Stride and Vital Healthcare could well join Kiwi Property, Precinct Properties and Goodman Property Trust, which are already there.”

Based on current share prices, the passive investment funds may end up buying the local property stocks well above their fundamentals and net asset backing – just as they did early in the year with Contact Energy and Meridian.

“The lesson from that are the funds ended up with a nose bleed when Contact and Meridian’s prices peaked and are now trading at their fundamentals,” Goodson said.

A re-energised a2 Milk went over $7 for the first time since May closed at $7.01, up 38c or 5.73 per cent – but the global milk marketer is still down 64 per cent over the past 12 months. Sister company Synlait was down 7c or 1.88 per cent to $3.66.

Goodson said there is talk that the daigou sales channel is opening back up and “any little glimpse of good news is enough to spark some quite violent reaction with a2 Milk”.

The company also appointed Edith Bailey, who worked with Danone Nutricia’s specialised nutrition division, as its new chief marketing officer.

Market leader Fisher and Paykel Healthcare fell 25c to $30.46; Chorus was down 9c to $6.29; Pushpay Holdings declined 4c or 2.23 per cent to $1.75; Meridian Energy decreased 14.5c or 2.72 per cent to $5.18; and Scales Corporation shed 6c to $4.63.

SkyCity Entertainment lost 4c to $3.41; Tourism Holdings was also down 4c to $2.50; and AFT Pharmaceuticals fell 15c or 3.23 per cent to $4.50.

Freightways rose 37c or 2.95 per cent to a new high of $12.92; Ryman Healthcare gained another 28c or 2.08 per cent to $13.72; Arvida continued its strong run, increasing 5c or 2.4 per cent to $2.13; Restaurant Brands collected 30c or 2.07 per cent to $14.80; and new listing DGL Group was up 8c or 5.44 per cent to $1.55.

Other property companies Goodman increased 4.5c or 1.92 per cent to $2.385; Investore was up 2c to $2.05; and Property for Industry also gained 2c to $2.90.

Publisher and broadcaster NZME rose 9c or 11.84 per cent to 85c after benefitting from a broker’s upgrade earlier in the week.

Personal leader Harmoney picked up another 11c or 6.47 per cent to $1.81, after sitting at $1.38 on June 22; Just Life rose 5c or 5.95 per cent to 89c; Scott Technology was up 10c or 4.02 per cent to $2.59; and Rua Bioscience collected 2c or 4.82 per cent to 43.5c.

On Wall Street, the benchmark S&P 500 Index notched its sixth-straight record close, rising 0.52 per cent to 4319.94 and going over 4300 points for the first time. The Dow Jones Industrial Index was up 0.38 per cent to 34,633.53.

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