The New Zealand sharemarket, and others overseas, remained on edge over the fast-spreading Omicron Covid variant, and posted a fall of nearly half a per cent.
The S&P/NZX 50 Index fell throughout the afternoon and closed down 54.05 points or 0.42 per cent at 12,670.24, after reaching a morning high of 12,738.2.
Trading was steady with 36.31 million shares worth $157.68 million changing hands, and there were 55 gainers and nine decliners over the whole market of 187 stocks.
Property developer Winton Land is planning to dual-list in New Zealand and Australia on December 17 after making an initial public offering of up to $350m, with an issue price of $3.88.
Greg Smith, head of retail with Devon Funds Management, said there is still weakness out there because of the uncertainty around the new Covid strain, but at least volatility has subsided.
“We’ve seen Omicron inevitably spread – the United States confirmed its first case in California – and it’s only a matter of time before it gets here,” Smith said.
“No one is really sure how serious it is. The Moderna boss was pessimistic but Pfizer was more optimistic. If the current vaccines are sufficient, then that will be good news. If a whole new vaccine is required, then that reawakens fears of lockdowns.”
Wall Street again fell overnight, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average down 1.34 per cent to 34,022.04, its lowest level in two months; S&P 500 declining 1.18 per cent to 4513.04; and Nasdaq Composite down 1.83 per cent to 15,254.05.
At home, Fisher and Paykel Healthcare was down 20c to $32.58; Mainfreight declined $1.55 to $89.45; Ebos Group shed 20c to $36; Ryman Healthcare lost 24c or 1.96 per cent to $12.01; Vista Group fell 8c or 3.42 per cent to $2.26; and Skellerup Holdings decreased 14c or 2.3 per cent to $5.96.
Air New Zealand was down 2c to $1.495 after telling the market that the passenger load for October was 50.2 per cent, down from 59.4 per cent for the same month last year. AMP declined 3c or 2.91 per cent to 99c; NZX was down 5c or 2.78 per cent to $1.75; and Rakon decreased 5c or 2.78 per cent to $1.75.
Other decliners were Sky Network Television, down 4c or 2.26 per cent to $1.73; Sanford losing 6c to $492; Marsden Maritime Holdings shedding 10c to $6.32; Heartland Group Holdings decreasing 4c to $2.24; ikeGPS falling 3c or 3.19 per cent to 91c; and EROAD was down 9c or 1.8 per cent to $4.90.
Among interest rate-sensitive stocks Contact Energy declined 11c to $7.84; Trustpower was down 6c to $7.37; Spark shed 8c to $4.41; while Mercury was up 8c to $6.11.
Fletcher Building recovered 22c or 3.29 per cent to $6.91 following the latest statistics that showed building consents for 47,715 new homes reached record levels for the year ending October, up 26 per cent.
Kiwi Property is selling 3.2ha of land at Sylvia Park in Auckland to Swedish homeware giant Ikea for its flagship store in New Zealand. Kiwi is also developing 6500 sq m of large format retail adjacent to the Ikea land. Kiwi’s share priced edged ahead 0.007c to $1.14.
Transtasman chemicals company DGL Group rose 16c or 6.61 per cent to $2.58 after telling shareholders at its annual meeting that it expects to exceed the prospectus operating earnings (ebitda) forecast of $29m.
Since listing in late May DGL has bought seven businesses in Australia and New Zealand, and they are expected to add a further $15m in ebitda. DGL has paid $38.85m in cash and issued 17.98m shares worth $47.6m for the purchases.
Other gainers were Summerset Group Holdings, up 27c or 2.13 per cent to $12.95; Port of Tauranga gaining 7c to $6.93; Harmoney rising 4c or 2.15 per cent to $1.90; Scott Technology increasing 9c or 2.66 per cent to $3.47; new listing TradeWindow collecting 5c or 2.79 per cent to $1.84; and Solution Dynamics up 8c or 2.84 per cent to $2.90.
New Zealand Refining Company has opened its $5m share purchase plan at 83c a share as part of its $43.5m capital raise to fund private storage services at is Marsden Pt fuel import terminal. Refining last traded at 86c.
Technology company investor Enprise was down 5c or 2.94 per cent to $1.65. Enprise recently provided a positive update from its joint venture online billing partner Datagate, with total annual recurring revenue reaching $2m at the end of October and revenue growth in its main US market running at 117 per cent a year.
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