NZ shares rise to record high on flat day

  • 23/03/2016

By Sophie Boot

New Zealand shares edged to a fresh record high, with Orion Health Group and Spark leading the index as investors shrugged off fears the Belgium terror attacks would weigh on the market.

The S&P/NZX50 Index rose 4.6 points, or 0.1 percent, to 6668.87. Within the index, 21 stocks rose, 21 fell and eight were unchanged. Turnover was $159 million.

"It was a reasonably flat day today, but with low interest rates we are still seeing strong demand for high yield stocks," said James Smalley, director at Hamilton Hindin Greene.

The local market was not pushed down by terror attacks in Belgium overnight, dropping slightly on open, but rising throughout the day. Investors had been quick to realise the attacks would not affect businesses on the bourse, Smalley said.

Orion Health led the index, up 3.2 percent to $3.25.

Spark rose 2.5 percent to $3.555, and Ebos Group advanced 2.2 percent to $16.60.

Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Corp gained 1.3 percent to $9.40, and has increased 6.5 percent so far this year.

A2 Milk Co was up 1 percent to $1.99, while processor Synlait Milk grew 2.4 percent to $2.97.

Fonterra Shareholders Fund fell 0.8 percent to $5.88. Fonterra doubled its interim dividend after shifting more production to higher-margin products in the face of weak milk powder prices and reporting a 123 percent jump in first-half profit.

SkyCity was the worst performer, dropping 3.4 percent to $4.84

Sky TV shed 3.2 percent to $4.81, and Ryman Healthcare lost 1.5 percent to $8.34.

Outside the main index, Intueri Education Group dropped 1 per cent to 47.5 cents.

Hallenstein Glasson Holdings rose 0.6 percent to $3.14. The retailer reported a 21 percent fall in first half profit to $6.8 million and warned a mild autumn was weighing on sales.

Food supplements maker Oceania Natural is set to become the third company to join NZX's NXT market in a compliance listing set for the end of the month valuing the firm at $15.9 million.