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Quiet Day For NZ Shares As Michael Hill Sales Figures Disappoint

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, Jan 9 NZPA - Sales figures from jeweller Michael Hill International (MHI) were the main news on a flat day for the New Zealand sharemarket.

The MHI figures published today show Australian same store sales up 1.2 percent to $A113.7m ($NZ137.7m) for the six months to the end of December, although in New Zealand dollar terms the increase was 5.7 percent.

In this country same store sales fell 9.3 percent to $48m. In Canada they fell 10.4 percent to $C10.1m ($NZ14.6m), while in NZ dollar terms the Canadian fall was 3.8 percent.

Grant Williamson, director at Hamilton, Hindin, Greene, said the figures were disappointing, and showed the depressed nature of the New Zealand retail market.

"That's going to have a material effect on their earnings. I think it will be typical of a lot of the retailers going forward this year, that they're really going to struggle," he said.

Michael Hill shares ended the day down 3c to 54, while overall, the benchmark NZSX-50 index closed up 0.76 points at 2757.41.

There were 26 rises and 46 falls among the 96 shares traded. Total turnover was 26,509,414 shares at a value of $49,560,389.

Mr Williamson said interest in Telecom remained relatively good again today, with the stock having rallied a little this week. It ended up 1c for the day at 241.

"So, some positive signs there. I think it is mainly with the lower interest rate environment, and likely to go lower, then we are starting to see investors take money out of the bank and look to put it into high yielding stocks," Mr Williamson said

As well as Telecom, such investments included listed property trusts, some of which could provide yields of around 10 percent.

"That should underpin our market going forward, particularly as we come in for another interest rate cut later on this month."

Among the largest gainers for the day, Fletcher Building rose 10c to 598 and Sky TV added 10c to 390. Fisher & Paykel Healthcare ended up 3c at 313, while stocks gaining 2c included F&P Appliances to 137, Goodman Property Trust to 97, and Kiwi Income Property Trust to 105.

Stocks to lose ground included Steel & Tube down 25c to 285, Ebos Group down 10c to 430, Mainfreight down 9c to 471, Freightways down 6c to 300, and Contact Energy down 6c to 745.

Down 4c were Tower to 150, Sky City to 295 and Hellaby Holdings to 130.

Among dual-listed stocks ANZ shed 35c to 1800, Westpac was down 34c to 1965, and Telstra lost 32c to 448, while Lion Nathan added 18c to 918.

In the United States, most stocks rose after news that Citigroup Inc agreed to support legislation aimed at stemming home loan foreclosures, offsetting Wal-Mart's disappointing sales and outlook.

Investors also snapped up some of the previous day's worst losers, including Microsoft and Apple.

The Dow Jones industrial average ended down 0.3 percent to 8742.46, while the Standard & Poor's 500 Index was up 0.3 percent to 909.73, and the Nasdaq Composite Index gained 1.1 percent to 1617.01.

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