Market close: Profit-taking drives NZ sharemarket down

Strong profit-taking in heavyweight stock Fisher and Paykel Healthcare drove the New Zealand sharemarket to a fall of nearly half a per cent.

The S&P/NZX 50 Index was down 55.64 points or 0.44 per cent to 12,518.71, after hitting an intraday high of 12,595.33. There were 61 gainers and 71 decliners over the whole market on volume of 55.58 million share transactions worth $232.45 million.

Jeremy Sullivan, investment adviser with Hamilton Hindin Greene, said the fall in the Fisher and Paykel price weighed heavily on the market, but overall the volatility has smoothed since the market sell-off started in early January.

“The worry of increasing inflation and rising interest rates has been tempered by the central bank saying it will continue to be accommodative and will hold off raising rates a little bit longer,” he said.

Fisher and Paykel Healthcare, the market’s biggest cap stock, fell $1.25 or 3.74 per cent to $32.17 on trade worth $27.3m.

“Fisher and Paykel was the biggest mover in terms of index points and the roll-out of the vaccines may just be tempering people’s expectation of the stock,” Sullivan said.

There was again heavy trading in the leading energy stocks but their prices held firm and triggered a small rebound in the index late in the day.

Meridian gained 17c or 3.12 per cent to $5.62 on trade worth $35.6m, and Contact was up 9c to $7.014 with $29.3m worth of its shares changing hands. Mercury increased 20c or 3.05 per cent to $6.75 and Trustpower gained 24c or 2.91 per cent to $8.49.

Transport and logistics company Mainfreight fell 55c to $67.60; Restaurant Brands lost 29c or 2.18 per cent to $13.01; Pushpay Holdings declined 5c or 2.48 per cent to $1.97; Infratil decreased 6c to $6.94; Port of Tauranga was down 10c to $7.40; and Sanford shed 4c to $4.61.

Ebos Group rose 10c to $29.90; Freightways gained 13c to $11.30; Auckland International Airport was up 7c to $7.68; and Kiwi Property increased 1.5c to $1.25.

Summerset Group Holdings rose 11c to $12 after reporting a record 148 new sales and 127 resales for the first quarter ending March. Summerset’s waiting list has increased 24 per cent on a year ago. Fellow retirement village operator Ryman Healthcare fell 23c to $14.87.

It was a day for chief executive resignations. Leon Clement is standing down from the top job at Synlait Milk at the end of April and co-founder John Penno will take over as interim chief executive. Synlait’s share price fell 7c or 2 per cent to $3.43.

David Darling indicated he will be retiring on April 6 next year after 18 years as Pacific Edge chief executive but would then continue as a consultant. Pacific Edge’s share price fell 5c or 4.17 per cent to $1.15, as the cancer diagnostic firm expands into United States.

Sullivan said the Synlait announcement was unexpected with a short turnaround in chief executive. Pacific Edge’s change in leadership is more orderly and “I think the market will be sad to see Darling go given the wins the company has had lately.”

Dual-listed Harmoney Corp, Australasia’s largest online direct personal lender, increased 1c to $2.30 after telling the market it has passed the milestone of $2 billion in total loan originations. Loans to new customers increased 60 per cent to $44.1m in the third quarter ending March, up from $27.5m in the second quarter.

Another dual-listed stock AFT Pharmaceuticals has signed agreements to distribute its hand sanitiser Crystawash Extend in the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Oman and Kenya, and it has appointed a business manager in Asia, based out of Hong Kong. AFT’s share price slipped 2c to $4.28.

Other gainers were Scott Technology rising 12c or 5 per cent to $2.52, and Vista Group gaining 5c or 2.29 per cent to $2.23.

New Zealand Automotive Investments fell 11c or 9.48 per cent to $1.05; Evolve Education was down 4c or 2.99 per cent to $1.30; and Solution Dynamics slipped 11c or 3.54 per cent to $3.

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