Market close: Sharemarket continues to fight against rising interest rates

Steel & Tube Holdings, one of the longest-serving listed companies, has been off the investors’ radar for some time. But it’s back as the New Zealand sharemarket had another down day, falling nearly half a per cent.

The S&P/NZX 50 Index never retrieved the lost ground at the opening – following another fall on Wall Street overnight – and closed at 12,869.41, down 60.17 points or 0.47 per cent.

There were 62 gainers and 81 decliners across the whole market on volume of 36.25 million share transactions worth $148.15 million.

Steel & Tube Holdings, established in 1953 and listed in 1967, rose 9c or 6.57 per cent to a new high of $1.46 and has risen 61 per cent over the past 12 months on the back of increased business. Steel & Tube upgraded its operating earnings (ebitda) forecast to $30m-$32m for the six months ending December.

Group revenue for the five months ending November rose 22 per cent – the distribution division was ahead 35 per cent – and volumes increased 11 per cent compared with the previous corresponding period.

Fellow steel distributor and processor Vulcan Steel gained 21c or 2.24 per cent to $9.58.

Jeremy Sullivan, investment adviser for Hamilton Hindin Greene, said the market continues to fight against rising interest rates. That theme started some time ago and will continue into next year.

“It’s become a stock-pickers market. You can’t buy the index and you have to look at underlying stocks doing well such as construction and steel companies like Steel & Tube and Vulcan. There are pockets of value out there,” he said.

Markets have already priced in interest rate increases in the United States from March next year. But they will still be keeping a close eye on the Federal Reserve’s latest announcement – likely to be a quickening pace in reducing its bond-buying programme and therefore easing the economic support.

The technology-driven Nasdaq Composite index has taken a battering, declining 1.14 per cent to 15,237.64 points after falling 1.39 per cent the day before. The Nasdaq is now 5 per cent below its all-time high of 16,057.44, set on November 19.

At home, Fisher and Paykel Healthcare and Mainfreight led the market down, falling 20c to $32.60, and $2.61 or 2.82per cent to $90.08 respectively.

Mercury Energy declined 20.5c or 3.32 per cent to $5.975; Restaurant Brands slipped 18c to $15.52; Chorus decreased 6c to $7.08; and Tourism Holdings was down 8c or 2.55 per cent to $3.06.

Among the property companies Kiwi Property declined 4.5c or 3.69 per cent to $1.175, Investore was down 4c to or 2.02 per cent $3.194; and Precinct Properties was up 2.5c to $1.63.

Fonterra Shareholders’ Fund, which listed at more than $8 in 2013, fell 10c or 2.67 per cent to $3.65; Oceania Healthcare was down 3c or 2.17 per cent to $1.35; Vista Group declined 8c or 3.33 per cent to $2.32; and Pushpay Holdings shed 4c or 2.92 per cent to $1.33.

Auckland International Airport was down 11c to $7.60 after providing its latest monthly traffic update. Total passenger volumes decreased 92.5 per cent in October compared with the same month last year, and November volumes were down 89.1 per cent.

Ebos Group, up 21c to $38.46, has launched its keenly-sought $105m offer to existing shareholders at a discounted $34.50 a share, after raising $674m from an institutional placement of new shares to help fund its billion-dollar purchase of LifeHealthcare.

Spark rose 10c or 2.25 per cent to $4.55; DGL Group rose 14c or 4.96 per cent to $2.96; Briscoe Group collected 14c or 2.07 per cent to $6.89; Move Logistics gained 3c or 1.84 per cent to $1.66; PGG Wrightson was up 8c to $4.55; and Comvita increased 6c to $3.42.

Synlait Milk increased 6c to $3.44, and a2 Milk was up 12c or 2.07 per cent to $5.92.

Goodman Property Trust’s $200m, six-year wholesale bond has an interest rate of 3.656 per cent a year, and its share price declined 1c to $2.63. Stride Property’s $20m retail offer was over-subscribed at $23.9m and its total capital raise reached $133.9m. Stride’s share price was unchanged at $2.07.

Wellington Drive Technologies increased 1c or 5.78 per cent to 18.3c after reporting that revenue is expected to be a record US$47m ($69.8m) and operating earnings (ebitda) NZ$3.9m for the full 2021 financial year. Revenue is forecast to grow another 25 per cent to US$60m in 2022.

TruScreen Group increased 0.004c or 5.13 per cent to 8.2c after telling the market its primary cervical cancer screening method will replace traditional cytology in a Hanoi hospital. TruScreen’s Mexico distributor is partnering with a local medical device financing company to bring the screening method to 3000 private and public hospitals.

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