Market close: Energy stocks power NZ sharemarket

The energy stocks added power to a rebounding New Zealand sharemarket just a day after the generators failed to meet the national electricity demand, with the Government questioning their motives.

The gentailers helped push the S&P/NZX 50 Index to a close of 12,764.23, up 63.4 points or 0.5 per cent, with the market recovering from a dip at lunchtime.

There were 77 gainers and 60 decliners over the whole market, on solid volume of 48.82 million share transactions worth $164.85 million.

Contact Energy rose 9c to $8.22; Meridian was up 5.5c to $5.22; Mercury increased 8c to $6.73; and Trustpower gained 4c to $8.07.

Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods said the power outages on Monday night were a result of commercial decisions made by the electricity companies.

She said the country had enough electricity generation capacity to meet demand and questioned whether the generators were holding back supply for profit.

Meridian had earlier told the market that it expected annual cost savings of $13m under Transpower’s proposed Transmission Pricing Methodology rather than $27m estimated by the Electricity Authority. The new pricing methodology is planned to begin on April 1, 2023.

Otherwise, it was all quiet on the sharemarket with few major stock movements before the start of the reporting season later this week.

Jeremy Sullivan, investment adviser with Hamilton Hindin Greene, said there was a tug of war going on between raising interest rates and a strong economy, and that’s why trading has been flat. One day the market was up and the next daydown.

“Today we are up on the back of the buoyant economy and consumer spending but an increase in interest rates – expected later this month – is not good for the market. We have two forces fighting each other,” he said.

Transtasman medical products distributor Ebos Group rose 49c to $31.69, Freightways gained 16 to $12.91; Skellerup Holdings increased 10c or 1.87 per cent to a new high of $5.44; and Move Logistics Group picked 4c or 2.65 per cent to $1.55.

Fletcher Building continues to benefit from a continuing hot housing market in New Zealand and Australia, rising 12c to $7.70.

Auckland International Airport was up 7.5c to $7.305; Ryman Healthcare gained 22c to $13.48; Briscoe Group increased 5c to $6.25; T&G Global picked up 5c to $2.98; and Gentrack rose 4c or 1.99 per cent to $2.05.

Small caps ArborGen Holdings rose 1.5c or 4.92 per cent to 32c; software-as-a-service firm Geo – with offices in New Zealand, Australia, United States and UK – collected 1.5c or 13.89 per cent to 12.3c; Enprise Group recovered 10c or 5 per cent to $2.10; and Plexure Group gained 2c or 3.77 per cent to 55c.

Market leader Fisher and Paykel Healthcare was down 15c to $32.95 on trade worth $19.98m; Port of Tauranga declined 9c to $6.94; Napier Port fell 9c or 2.69 per cent to $3.25; Hallenstein Glasson decreased 6c to $7.01; Serko shed 5c to $7.02; EROAD lost 6c to $6.24; and Harmoney was down 4c or 2 per cent to $1.96.

Precinct Properties, up 1c to $1.64, and Vital Healthcare, gaining 2c to $3.13, are the first companies to report their financial results later this week, followed by Contact on Monday, and Mercury and PGG Wrightson on Tuesday.

It was a good day for the interest rate-sensitive property stocks operating in a strong real estate market. Property for Industry rose 4c to $2.91; Stride Property gained 3c to $2.50; Argosy was up 2c to $1.62; and Investore also picked up 2c to $2.02.

The latest reporting season is one of the most keenly anticipated as investors wait to see how companies have climbed out of the Covid pandemic and gauge their future prospects in a rebounding economy.

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