NZ shares rise amid milk expectations

  • 05/08/2016
Close-up financial chart on LCD display. Stock photo.

New Zealand shares rose for a second day amid bullish expectations for A2 Milk's growth and earnings and after investors welcomed strong inflows for Meridian Energy's hydro storage lakes.

The S&P/NZX 50 Index 10.33 points, or 0.1 percent, to 7,308.41. Within the index, 20 stocks rose, 20 fell and 11 were unchanged. Turnover was $122 million.

A2 rose about 2 percent to $2.06, leading the index higher. In June, the milk marketer lifted its full-year guidance and said it is well placed to cope with changes to infant formula regulations in China.

"It's a business with a lot of momentum and some pretty interesting products," said James Lindsay, senior portfolio manager at Nikko Asset Management. There were still some question marks around China's formula regulations, he added.

Meridian gained 1.8 percent to $2.86. The company said last month that its June hydro storage inflows were at 136 percent of their historical average. The shares are up 13 percent in the past 30 days.

Lindsay says in the run-up to earnings season, "companies seem be doing ok on average" and there have been few "pre-reporting season confessions", or profit downgrades.

A number of company shares have been pushed up to their valuations or beyond, making them vulnerable to any big earnings disappointments. But there were global reasons why the New Zealand stock market is near record highs, he said.

Among the few that have "confessed", Intueri Education Group sank 24 percent to 26 cents after the private training provider's chief executive Rob Facer unexpectedly quit, and the company said 2016 earnings were likely to drop 36 percent.

Intueri said first-half ebitda fell to about $10m from $10.5m, and annual earnings would be about $15m.

Restaurant Brands New Zealand advanced 1.6 percent to $5.59 and Heartland Bank rose 1.5 percent to $1.37.

Xero gained 1.5 percent to $20.09 and Property for Industry was up 1.2 percent to $1.66.

Chorus was the biggest decliner on the index, falling 2.7 percent to $4.36 and Orion Health Group dropped 1.5 percent to $4.77.