Market close: Sea of red as investors await central bank moves

The New Zealand sharemarket slipped nearly half a per cent, with blue-chip stocks leading the way and investors remaining cautious over the next moves by central banks.

After reaching an intraday low of 13,123.64, the S&P/NZX 50 Index made a recovery in the last half hour matching session and closed at 13,178.58, down 55.97 points or 0.42 per cent, as Auckland moved to alert level 3 for at least two weeks.

There were 109 decliners and just 34 gainers over the whole market on light trading, with 38.22 million shares worth $133.35 million changing hands.

Greg Smith, head of research for Fat Prophets, said this week will be characterised by macroeconomic data and developments.

“The Japanese, Swiss, Swedish and Norwegian central banks are meeting, and all eyes will be on the United States Federal Reserve monetary policy statement (on Thursday morning NZ time).

“The general view is that the Fed will back off tightening the economic stimulus – with fears that growth is slowing,” Smith said. “The New Zealand Reserve Bank assistant governor (Christian Hawkesby) is also making a speech and it will be interesting to hear the bank’s latest stance.

“A contagion event is the financial difficulties of China’s largest property developer Evergrande. The question is whether the Chinese officials will let it fall over, and this is overhanging the market. Investors are just keeping their powder dry at present.”

Smith said the move to level 3 for Auckland was a double-edged sword. “Really, it’s level 4 plus KFC. Increasing the size of venue gatherings from 50 to 100 people outside of Auckland will, however, help hospitality.”

Fisher and Paykel Healthcare was one of the few movers among the leading stocks, turning late in the day from a low of $32 to close at $32.50, up 10c.

Retailers Briscoe Group gained 10.5c to $7 and Hallenstein Glasson was up 4c to $7.09. PGG Wrightson increased 8c or 2.25 per cent to $3.63, and Scott Technology collected 6c or 2.05 per cent to $2.99.

Goodman Property Trust rose 4c or 2.57 per cent to $2.57, and Precinct Properties picked up 1.5c to $3.025.

Summerset Group Holdings increased 4c to $14.89 after gaining consent to build a $150m retirement village in Cambridge, with 260 villas and dementia care centre.

Ryman Healthcare was down 15c to $14.90, and Oceania Healthcare declined 2c to $1.54.

Fletcher Building fell 14c or 1.86 per cent to $7.37; Chorus decreased 14c or 2.11 per cent to $6.51; Pushpay Holdings was down 9c or 4.59 per cent to $1.87; and SkyCity Entertainment shed 8c or 2.42 per cent to $3.23.

Retailer Kathmandu Holdings was down 2c to $1.46 on the eve of reporting its latest annual result to the end of July. Wine exporter Delegat Group declined 32c or 2.2 per cent to $14.20.

Move Logistics Group fell 6c or 3.85 per cent to $1.50 after telling the market the latest Covid restrictions has impacted trading in the first six months of the present financial year, particularly the fuel division, and there are fewer goods to carry despite being an essential service.

Vista Group was down 6c or 2.4 per cent to $2.4; Gentrack declined 4c or 2.03 per cent $1.93; Millennium & Copthorne Hotels New Zealand fell 8c or 3.31 per cent to $2.34; and Evolve Education shed 5c or 5.41 per cent to 70c.

Port companies South Port New Zealand fell 20c or 2.13 per cent to $9.20, and Napier Port declined 3c to $3.26.

Other decliners were Sky Network Television, down 7c or 3.29 per cent to $2.06; My Food Bag decreasing 3c or 2.11 per cent to $1.39; AMP falling 5c or 4.85 per cent to 98c; Bremworth losing 11c or 13.10 per cent to 73c; Accordant Group shedding 5c or 2.7 per cent to $1.80; and Enprise Group down 5c or 2.21 per cent to $2.21.

NZ Automotive Investments was down 10c or 9.09 per cent to $1. Founder Eugene Williams sold 4.23m shares of 9.3 per cent in a private placement at 93c a share. He remains a substantial shareholder with 36 per cent of the company.

Residential property developer CDL Investments New Zealand was down 1.5c to $1.14 after earlier telling the market it is defending a High Court judicial review over land it bought in Havelock North. Applicant Winton Property Investment is challenging the Overseas Investment Office decision to give CDL approval for the purchase.

Eftpos provider Smartpay Holdings said New Zealand revenue gained from monthly rental contract has not been impacted by the Covid restrictions, and its Australian business has shown resilience, down 7.3 per cent in July and 15.5 per cent in August. Smartpay’s share price was down 2.5c or 3.4 per cent to 71c.

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