Market close: Investors fret over potential Russian invasion

The New Zealand sharemarket ran out of steam on renewed fears of a Russian invasion in Ukraine and closed the week with a near 1 per cent fall.

With no robust company financial results to work off, the S&P/NZX 50 Index drifted all day and closed down 114.92 points or 0.94 per cent at 12,141.89 – following another sell-off on Wall Street. The NZX index began the week at 12,173.78 points.

There 94 decliners and 39 gainers over the whole market of 187 stocks, with 24.6 million shares worth $109.5 million changing hands.

Dan Stratful, investment adviser with Forsyth Barr, said: “We were driven by offshore markets which were sold off again by the geopolitical events between Russia and Ukraine.

“Russia is saying it is backing off and US President Joe Biden is a saying an attack is imminent. It’s certainly not helping the sentiment for markets. Trading is very choppy, not including inflation and rising interest rates, and with all this going on it will take some time to play out,” Stratful said.

In the United States, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 1.78 per cent to 34,312.03; S&P 500 declined 2.12 per cent to 4380.26; and the technology-laden Nasdaq Composite fell 2.88 per cent to 13,716.72. The Nasdaq has now fallen 14 per cent from its all-time high.

At home, many of the stocks that had risen strongly over the previous two days gave up some of their gains. Fletcher Building declined 11c to $6.79; Infratil fell 13c to $7.93; Ryman Healthcare was down 20c or 2.08 per cent to $9.40; and Fisher and Paykel Healthcare shed 69c or 2.34 per cent to $28.81.

Mainfreight shed $2.11 or 2.57 per cent to $79.95; Serko fell 32c or 5.89 per cent to $5.11; a2 Milk was down 12c or 2.09 per cent to $5.62; Oceania Healthcare declined 4c 3.57 per cent to $1.08; and Rakon dropped 8c or 4.37 per cent to $1.75.

Synlait Milk was down 6c to $3.40; Goodman Property Trust declined 7c or 2.77 per cent to $2.46; PGG Wrightson decreased 12c or 2.23 per cent to $5.26; The Colonial Motor Company fell 20c or 1.83 per cent to $10.70; and Steel & Tube shed 5c or 3.14 per cent to $1.54.

Tourism Holdings was down 8c or 2.95 per cent to $2.63; Michael Hill International fell 5c or 3.33 per cent to $1.45; Harmoney lost 8c or 4.6 per cent to $1.66; Pacific Edge declined 5c or 4.59 per cent to $1.04; and Plexure Group decreased 2.5c or 6.33 per cent to 37c.

Meridian Energy was up 0.005 to $5.055 after telling the market in its monthly operating report that its New Zealand sales volumes increased 16.2 per cent in January compared to the same month last year. National hydro storage was at 117 per cent of historical average, and national electricity demand was 1.9 per cent higher.

Sky Network Television increased 9c or 3.63 per cent to $2.57 after regaining the New Zealand rights from Spark Sport to screen the English Premier football league for six years from next season. Spark was up 5.5c to $4.535.

Investore Property gained 3c to $1.80 after completing a $125m, five-year bond offer with an interest rate of 4 per cent a year. The bonds will be issued on February 25.

Seeka increased 3c to $5.09 after reporting record full-year revenue of $309.56m, up 23.1 per cent, thanks to a rebound in Hayward green kiwifruit volumes and continuing growth in SunGold production.

Seeka’s net profit for the year ending December was $14.86m, down 1.9 per cent, and operating earnings (ebitda) increased 32 per cent to $56.8m. Seeka is paying a final dividend of 13c a share on February 23.

Other gainers were Sanford up 4c to $4.74; Scales Corporation rising 16c or 3.24 per cent to $5.10; T&G Global collecting 5c to $2.91; and Winton Land adding 5c to $3.45.

Millennium & Copthorne Hotels New Zealand, which owns 66 per cent of CDL Investments, reported a 17.4 per cent fall in net profit to $40.49m on revenue of $164.7m, down 4.19 per cent, for the year ending December. The average hotel occupancy was 36.1 per cent. It is paying a final dividend of 3.5c on May 13.

CDL Investments reported net profit of $31.26m, up 3.87 per cent, on revenue of $92.14m, up 3.79 per cent, for the 2021 financial year. It is also paying a final dividend of 3.5c a share on May 13. Millennium’s share price slipped 1c to $2.20, and CDL was up 5c or 4.35 per cent to $1.20.

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