There were few winners and many losers on New Zealand’s benchmark index today, as investors angst over everything from geopolitical tension, oil prices, and international markets meant NZ companies from nearly every sector felt the pinch.
The S&P/NZX 50 index fell 86.79 points, or 0.7%, to 11,726.39. Within the broader equity market, 30 stocks rose, 105 fell and turnover was $175 million,
Hamilton Hindin Greene’s Grant Davies said the US Nasdaq was down 20% so far this year and markets everywhere were facing a headwind.
He said this wasn’t helped by weak global growth and increasingly more expensive commodity prices across the board, from crude oil to palm oil.
“Interest rate expectations are ratcheting up another notch,” he said.
Latest NZX data (market currently closed)
|DGL Group||$0.230||8.16 %|
|Pacific Edge||$0.040||5.88 %|
|Marlin Global||$0.060||5.50 %|
|Vital Healthcare Property Trust||$0.130||4.89 %|
|Evolve Education Group||$-0.030||-4.05 %|
|Marlborough Wine Estates Group||$-0.005||-2.94 %|
|Scott Technology||$-0.080||-2.68 %|
In the spotlight
Wall Street's rough night weighed on markets around the world, including NZ’s. The Nasdaq dropped to its lowest level since December 2020, with its heavy weighting of Big Tech coming under increased strain from investors worried about global growth as inflation squeezes people where it hurts most.
Eccentric billionaire Elon Musk remained high on investors' minds for a second day as they tried to navigate how much of his Tesla stake he may sell to fund his US$44 billion purchase of Twitter.
In NZ, technology stocks were pinched by the Nasdaq slump, with many struggling to gain any ground today.
After becoming the talk of the town yesterday on news that multiple suitors were interested in sweeping the company off its feet and buying it, Pushpay gave up some of yesterday's 27% spike, falling 3.1% to $1.24 today.
Financial services firm Jarden observed in a market note this morning that Pushpay’s announcement release was “light on detail” and had “no colour on the number of approaches, valuation indications, or potential timeframes provided at this stage”.
Hamilton Hindin Greene's Davies said the worry around Musk would “obviously” flow through to Pushpay.
“And maybe even the appetite of people inquiring about it as well,” he said.
Sunny skies for a few
The Warehouse Group had a positive day, rising 4.7% to $3.35, unbothered by the buffering of the other companies.
Rival Briscoe Group also was also up 1.5% to $5.92, indicating investors were rotating funds into companies that might hold up when the economy slows, such as retailers that offer regular discounts.
Plexure Group was one of the few software companies to have a decent day, ending Wednesday up 3.6% at 29 cents.
South Port rose 1.1% to $9.10 and Infratil advanced 1.5% to $8.28.
Radius Residential Care increased 2.4% to 42 cents while Ryman Healthcare was down 1.9% at $8.90.
Cannasouth, NZ’s first medicinal cannabis company to list on the NZX, had a strong day, up 4.4% at 36 cents.
Auckland International Airport spent most of the trading session in the red, but a late rally lifted it to end the day 0.3% at $7.75.
Rain clouds for many
It was a hard slog for most NZ listed companies, with investors not picky in which sectors they spurned.
Health and wellness company Me Today dropped 4.5% to $1.69 and NZ King Salmon Investments slumped 19.4% to 29 cents, the biggest drop of the day, after opening its rights offer to raise $60.1 million at 15 cents a share.
Manufacturers were also under the hammer with Steel & Tube Holdings dropping 1.9% to $1.53 and Vulcan Steel down 2% to $10.12. Rubber manufacturer Skellerup fell 2.1% to $5.58.
Fletcher Building led the benchmark index lower, falling 4% to $6.05.
Air New Zealand didn’t have a great day either, falling 1.7% to 87.5 cents, the day after its rights offer ended. The airline is moving its 1,200 Auckland-based staff out of its waterfront offices to its refurbished airport campus, which it reckons will cut costs by 20% over the next 15 years.
Exporters didn't fare well either, despite a weaker NZ dollar, with A2 Milk and units in the Fonterra Shareholders' Fund down a respective 1.8% at $4.81 and 1.6% at $3.05.
Fisher & Paykel Healthcare was down 1.2% at $21.65 today while AFT Pharmaceuticals dropped 1.9% to $3.70.
Kiwi and Aussie tussle
The NZ dollar was trading at 65.71 US cents at 3pm in Wellington, down from 66.20 cents yesterday.
The kiwi struggled against the Australian dollar, trading at 91.78 today, down from 92.14 cents yesterday, after stronger-than-expected Australian inflation data raised the prospect of the Reserve Bank of Australia hiking its benchmark interest rate, reducing the advantage NZ has over its trans-Tasman counterpart.
Jarden’s chief Australian Economist Carlos Cacho said Australia’s inflation hitting a 20-year peak “puts the pressure on the RBA and makes a very strong case for a rate hike next month”.
“We now expect the RBA to hike 15 basis points in May,” he said.