Market Close: Biden bump pushes NZ sharemarket to record close

The New Zealand sharemarket had plenty of positive matters to chew over and revelled in one of its strongest trading days for several weeks, with a2 Milk making a big rebound.

The S&P/NZX 50 Index climbed 225.18 points or 1.83 per cent to 12,562.20, a record close. There were 106 gainers over the whole market of 182 stocks and just 32 decliners. Volume was solid with 43 million shares worth $150m changing hands.

Shane Solly portfolio manager with Harbour Asset Management, said the markets have taken on a positive tone, with US Futures up 1.5 per cent. “You have a more predictable, more collegial Democratic President Joe Biden and a Republican-led Senate.

“There will be less risk of a blow-out in the budget and increasing inflation with the Republican-led Senate, but still some good economic stimulus. Biden will allow an improvement in global trade, and China has put out some economic data showing it is in expansionary mode.”

Solly said the latest developments from the leading Covid vaccine contenders will be known later this month and Australian biotech company CSL has started making and stocking up on the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.

“The lower interest rate environment is also pulling investors into the market – they’ve taken on the ‘fear of missing out’ approach,” he said.

After taking a slide over the past few weeks, a2 Milk rose 64c or 4.32 per cent to $15.45 on increased share transactions worth $25m. Solly said the daigou selling channel is recovering in Melbourne and latest research shows a2 Milk product is well received in the mother and baby stores in China, with parents using the product longer for children up the age of three or four years.

Synlait, 20 per cent owned by a2 Milk, gained 43c or 7.82 per cent to $5.93 before it went into a trading halt pending an announcement. Synlait sent out a note to brokers saying it is looking to raise capital and that trading may not resume till November 13.

Market heavyweight Fisher and Paykel Healthcare increased 84c or 2.33 per cent to $36.95, Mainfreight was up $1.45 or 2.7 per centto $55.25, Ebos Group gained 18c to $25.88, and Chorus, which is planning to make a $200m bond offer, jumped 31c or 3.59 per cent to $8.95

Freightways climbed a further 18c or 2.08 per cent to $8.85, having steadily risen from $8.40 on October 29 when the company told shareholders at its annual meeting the business was in good heart.

The energy companies are now benefitting from a demand in green renewable stocks. Contact was up 10c to $7.85, Meridian rose 24c or 4.25 per cent to $5.89, Mercury gained 18c or 3.29 per cent to $5.65, and Trustpower increased 8c to $7.36.

Summerset Group Holdings‘ chief executive Julian Cook is stepping down next March, and in orderly fashion will be replaced by the present deputy and chief financial officer Scott Scoullar. Summerset climbed 43c or 4.10 per cent to $10.93, and rival retirement village operator Ryman Healthcare rose 21c to $14.91.

Heartland Bank Limited has reduced its already-low floating home loan rate to 2.50 per cent – the lowest offered by any bank in New Zealand – and the group’s share price rose 4c or 3.08 per cent to $1.34. Heartland had already gone below 2 per cent for its one-year fixed rate.

AFT Pharmaceuticals climbed 22c or 4.25 per cent to $5.40, after saying it is getting closer to US Food and Drug Administration approval for its Maxigestic pain relief tablet.

Craft beer brewer Moa Group increased 0.8c or 4.28 per cent to 19.5 after it was announced the Cushing family has increased its stake from 6.5 per cent to 10.1 per cent by buying four million shares at 19c each from cornerstone shareholder Colin Neal, founder of Big Chill.

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