Corporate

NZ shares lift

New Zealand shares rose as results from the US midterm elections seemed to indicate the Democrats would take control of the House but wouldn't win the Senate. Z Energy gained while A2 Milk and Synlait Milk fell. 

The S&P/NZX 50 index rose 38.37 points, or 0.4 percent, to 8,854.79. Within the index, 27 stocks rose, seven were unchanged and 16 fell. Turnover was $121.2 million. 

Most Asian share markets were in positive territory, but the reaction was fairly muted as the result was in line with expectations. According to Dow Jones Newswires, control of the Senate will have a major impact on the second half of President Donald Trump's term. A Republican majority would allow the president to continue to appoint conservative judges and confirm nominees to administration posts. It would also help Trump should Democrats win the House and seek to impeach him, since a trial would occur in the Senate, and conviction requires a two-thirds majority vote. 

Z Energy added 4.9 percent to $5.54. The company has made an effort to clarify expectations for its second-half dividend after the firm's shares plunged to a three-year low last week.

"Some of the selling has abated a little," said David Price, director of institutional equities at Forsyth Barr. "When you are a yield stock you need to be clear about what you are doing and how you are doing it," he said. 

Z shares fell when the firm cut its full-year operating earnings guidance to $400 million to $435 million, reflecting high crude prices, the lower kiwi dollar and weaker consumer demand. The 12.5 cent interim dividend, while up 20 percent on the year before, was about 5 cents a share less than investors had been expecting. 

Pushpay shed 3.8 percent to $3.58. The digital church collection plate operator says it expects to break-even for the first time in December this year and to post its first earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, amortisation and currency adjustments in the year to March 2019.

A2 Milk shed 1.8 percent to $10.31 and Synlait was down 4.1 percent to $8.40. According to the Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand, news that the review of the China-New Zealand FTA is unlikely to result in improved dairy access is disappointing for the local industry.  

“Despite the close relationship that New Zealand and China enjoy, New Zealand dairy exports to China continue to incur over a $100 million in tariffs each year, with the safeguards regularly triggered in early January” DCANZ Chairman Malcolm Bailey said in a statement.  “Additionally New Zealand exporters of milk powder, cheese, and butter will be at a growing tariff disadvantage relative to Australian competitors until these safeguards end in 3-5 years”.   

Goodman Property Trust rose 0.7 percent to $1.51 after it reported a 47 percent lift in first-half pre-tax profit as it benefited from fair value gains on investment properties.

Genesis Energy rose 0.7 percent to $1.51. Earlier it said its target for earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, amortisation and changes in financial instruments of $400 million to $430 million in FY21 remained achievable. 

Contact Energy lifted 3.0 percent to $5.82. Yesterday the company said the company said its operating earnings during the past four months are ahead of last year.  "It has had a very good run in terms of being long generation into these very high prices," said Price. 

Price also said news that Vodafone New Zealand's newly installed chief executive Jason Paris will be pushing ahead with an initial public offering is positive for the market. "It will be. Absolutely. We have been losing more than we have been gaining," he said. 

Paris told BusinessDesk one of his briefs when he was told he had the job early this year was to bring the much-anticipated stock exchange listing to fruition.

The target for the initial public offering is 2020, but there’s a bit of work to do beforehand, Paris said.

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