Otago Daily Times

Market commentary

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WELLINGTON: The New Zealand sharemarke­t has opened this year as one of the weakest globally after the leading energy stocks and other blue chips again dragged the index down more than 0.5%.

As happened the day before, the S&P/NZX 50 Index continued to slide deeper into negative territory, closing down 97.66 points, or 0.76%, to 12,830.03, from an intraday high of 12,971.94. The index has only risen on one day this month.

There were 69 gainers and 73 decliners over the whole market on volume of 41.9 million share transactio­ns worth $152.47 million.

Forsyth Barr investment adviser Dan Stratful said the market was not technicall­y having a correction, but it was certainly going through a weak patch.

‘‘It’s quite ironic since our economic numbers show our economy is outperform­ing the rest of the Western world — but not the sharemarke­t. The same thing is going on . . . we are being dragged down by Meridian and Contact and others. I don’t know who is selling the energy stocks but I hope it’s not the overseas exchange traded funds,’’ Mr Stratful said.

‘‘I guess local and internatio­nal investors saw how high their share prices got and are profittaki­ng. Eventually, Meridian and Contact will become a buying opportunit­y but some will argue they are still not cheap, and will be affected if interest rates keep going up.’’

For the year to date, the NZX 50 Index has fallen 1.8% — even though it reached an all time high of 13,558.19 points on January 8. The Hong Kong market has so far increased 10%, Japan 7%, Germany 2.14%, France 2.5%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average 2.5%, the S&P 500 Index 4% and the Nasdaq Composite 8.7%.

The Australian ASX 200 has gained 4.25%, and in the latest trading was up 0.55% to 6858.40 points at 5.45pm.

Meridian fell 30.5c, or 4.46%, to $6.53; Contact was down 30c, or 3.75% to $7.70; Fisher & Paykel Healthcare dropped 12c to $32.45; a2 Milk shed 16c to $10.91; and Chorus lost 14c, or 1.65%, to $8.36.

Mainfreigh­t rose $1.09, or 1.61%, to $68.60, Auckland Internatio­nal Airport was up 6c to $7.16; and Hallenstei­n Glasson climbed 14c, or 1.84%, to $7.76 in the flourishin­g retail sector.

Summerset Group Holdings surged 41c, or 3.29%, to a high of $12.89. The retirement village operator has more than tripled since hitting a low of $3.71 on March 23 last year.

Restaurant Brands, a seesawing stock, fell 32c, or 2.65%, to $11.77; Synlait shed 13c, or 2.93%, to $4.360; Napier Port was down 8c, or 2.3%, to $3.40; and Fletcher Building slid 14c, or 2.13%, to $6.42 on profittaki­ng after a strong run since late last year.

Water cooler supplier Just Life fell 7c, or 7.22%, to 90c after having a good run.

Infratil executive Jason Boyes is replacing Marko Bogoievski, who is stepping down as chief executive and director after 12 years on April 1. Infratil’s share price slipped 2.5c to $7.465.

Sanford fell 25c, or 5.1%, to $4.65 after telling the market Chinese customs has suspended mussel imports from its Havelock processing plant. The Chinese raised a number of queries following a video audit, and Sanford said the suspension would not have a material impact on its operations or sales. —

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