Market close: Out of favour sector helps drag NZ shares lower

The New Zealand sharemarket, down again by nearly half a per cent, is pretty unforgiving at the moment – just ask leading retirement village operator and top 10 stock, Ryman Healthcare.

Ryman produced a reasonable half-year financial result and got stripped 66c or 4.84 per cent to $12.99, its lowest level for 14 weeks when it hit $12.46 on July 28.

The other sector stocks followed, with Summerset Group Holdings down 26c or 1.93 per cent to $13.18, and Arvida declining 6c or 3.08 per cent to $1.89.

The S&P/NZX 50 Index had a late fall and was down 60.21 points or 0.47 per cent to 12,740.12, its lowest level since mid-August. The index closed the week with a 1.31 per cent loss and is 2.7 per cent down for the year to date.

There 65 gainers and 75 decliners over the whole market on volume of 36.32 million share transactions worth $135.11 million. Ventia Services Group has joined the market at $1.77 but has yet to trade.

Ryman increased its revenue 25.9 per cent to $533m including property revaluation gains, and net profit rose 32.5 per cent to $281.46m for the six months ending September. Its underlying profit was 95.9m, up 8.5 per cent. Ryman is paying an interim dividend of 8.8c a share on December 17.

Shane Solly, portfolio manager with Harbour Asset Management, said Ryman’s result was slightly below expectation, with development margins a bit weaker, increased operating costs and slower new sales.

It was always going to be a challenging result because of the Covid lockdowns in Melbourne and Auckland. “The retirement sector is a long-term play and investors have put a short-term lens on it – Ryman’s fall was quite a violent reaction,” Solly said.

“People have fallen out of love with the sector and that happens from time to time. One of the things we are seeing in this reporting season is how hard it is to manage Covid.

“The market has been pretty relentless lately with its weak days and people have reduced their exposure to New Zealand stocks,” said Solly.

The interest rate-sensitive energy stocks were weaker except for Vector, up 4c to $4.01. Contact was down 7c to $7.98; Meridian declined 5c to $4.63, Mercury fell 16c or 2.69 per cent to $5.78; and Trustpower decreased 5c to $7.50.

Another top 10 stock Auckland International Airport chimed in and helped drag the market down, falling 22c or 2.7 per cent to $7.93.

Specialised electronics supplier Rakon was the day’s biggest performer, rising 12c or 7.23 per cent to $1.78 after earlier upgrading its earnings forecast for the year ending March. Rakon has risen nearly 309 per cent during the past 12 months, from 38.5c on November 20 last year.

Steel & Tube Holdings, experiencing increased business and improved margins, rose 6c or 4.88 per cent to $1.29 after upgrading its operating earnings (ebit) guidance to more than $17m for the six months ending December, compared with $8.9m for the same period last year. Vulcan Steel benefitted, increasing 19c or 2.4 per cent to $8.12.

Fisher and Paykel Healthcare was up 14c to $31.51; a2 Milk rose 14c or 2.21 per cent to $6.48; Fletcher Building gained 7c to $7; Chorus increased 6c to $6.30; SkyCity Entertainment collected 5c to $3.22; AFT Pharmaceuticals picked up 8c to $4.91 and Move Logistics was up 5c or 2.63 per cent to $1.95.

Hallenstein Glasson rose 17c or 2.45 per cent to $7.12, Scott Technology gained 9c or 2.88 per cent to $3.22; hospitality group Savor increased 2.5c or 5.05 per cent to 52c; and NZ King Salmon Investments was up 3c or 2.11 per cent to $1.45.

Napier Port recovered a further 4c to $3.14 following its solid half-year result, and South Port New Zealand was up 11c to $8.60.

Meal kit company My Food Bag gained 3c or 2.5 per cent to $1.23 after delivering a 24.55 per cent increase in net profit to $9.43m on lower revenue of $98.44, down 6.51 per cent, for the six months ending September. It is paying an inaugural dividend of 3c a share on December 16.

My Food Bag’s customers increased 3.3 per cent and total deliveries reached 808,000 with an average order value of $121.80. It confirmed full-year operating earnings (ebitda) guidance of $34.2m, and 10 per cent increase on last year.

Pushpay Holdings was down 4c or 2.7 per cent to $1.44; Restaurant Brands fell 32c or 2.21 per cent to $14.19; Scales Corporation declined 8c to $5.42; and Third Age Health Services shed 6c or 2.11 to $2.79.

Solution Dynamics rose 8c or 2.76 per cent to $2.98. Its chief executive Nelson Siva has resigned because of ill health and Patrick Brand, the head of the marketing firm’s international business, has been promoted to the role.

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