Trio lead rally in stocks
By Sophie Boot
New Zealand Refining, Metlifecare and Ebos Group led a rally in stocks of companies posting profit growth in the busiest day for results for earnings season.
NZ Refining climbed 3.9 percent to a three-week high of $3.74 after New Zealand's only oil refinery posted annual profit of $151 million as revenue almost doubled to $445 million, helped by historically high refining margins, a weaker Kiwi dollar and improved plant reliability.
Retirement village operator Metlifecare rose 3.5 percent to $4.44 after announcing that first-half profit more than tripled as property prices boomed.
Ebos rose 3.7 percent to $14.20, the highest level this year, after reporting a 19 percent gain in first-half profit, declaring a bigger-than-expected dividend and reiterating is expectation for double-digit full-year earnings growth.
"It has largely been a positive morning," said Matthew Goodson, managing director of Salt Funds Management.
Genesis Energy rose 1.1 percent to $1.89. The country's biggest electricity retailer increased first-half earnings 1.5 percent as it grabbed more customers in a tightly contested retail market and lifted generation volumes, but still hasn't made a decision on whether to can its Huntly power station.
Meridian Energy advanced 0.9 percent to $2.36. It announced an 11 percent fall in net profit after tax of $104 million for the six months ended Dec. 31 but cited sufficient strength in underlying earnings to lift the interim dividend and declare a special dividend of 2.4 cents per share.
NZX dropped 1 percent to $1 after reporting an 82 percent gain in full-year profit as a one-time gain from the sale of its Link Market Services division lifted flat operating earnings.
Summerset rose 1.3 percent to $4, Wynyard Group tumbled 39 percent to 94 cents.