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Upbeat Sky City Spurs On NZ Sharemarket

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, July 21 NZPA - An upbeat earnings forecast from casino company Sky City today spurred buying activity throughout the market.

Sky City's announcement that it expected to beat profit forecasts on improved fourth quarter income helped boost its shares around 7 percent, and bolstered confidence across the market.

"I really do feel that the Sky City announcement has brought some confidence into the marketplace, which is good to see because we've been lagging any improvement in the offshore market, and today we're right at the front of the pack," said Grant Williamson of Hamilton Hindin Greene.

The benchmark NZSX-50 index closed up 52.28 points, or 1.85 percent, at a more than two-month high of 2873.19. Turnover was a modest $94.4 million.

Sky City shares closed up 19c at 305, having hit a high of 310 earlier in the session, after forecasting annual net profit in the range of $113 million to $116 million, above analysts' annual net profit range of $99m-$106m in April.

"The Sky City earnings upgrade has given confidence that other companies might very well do the same thing and surprise on the upside," Mr Williamson said.

Fletcher Building rose 22c, or 3 percent, to 704, Contact Energy was up 13c at 603, Telecom rose 4c to 277, Sky Television rose 6c to 428, and Auckland Airport was up 2c at 157.

Fisher & Paykel Healthcare was up 12c at 306, and F&P Appliances rose a cent to 70.

Among other gains, Port of Tauranga was up 15c at 625, Ebos rose 8c to 520, NZ Refining was up 14c at 695, and Steel & Tube rose 8c to 296.

On the decline, Hallenstein Glasson fell 5c to 255, seafood exporter Sanford lost 10c to 520, NZX was down 5c at 755 and Trustpower fell 8c to 742.

Pyne Gould Corp lost 8c, or 4.5 percent, to 170 after announcing it would take a full-year, one-off charge of up to $65m after tax to reflect impairments on property loans by its Marac division.

"That once again highlights the very difficult environment for property lending at the moment," Mr Williamson said.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index was up 0.2 percent at 4057, while Japan's Nikkei share average rose 2.2 percent.

Dual-listed stocks were mixed, with ANZ up 5c at 2095, Westpac down 25c at 2505, Telstra off 10c at 415 and AMP flat at 625.

Earlier on Wall Street, the main indexes posted gains of more than 1 percent as investors bet corporate America would produce another strong set of earnings this week.

The S&P 500 hit an eight-month closing high after lender CIT Group was thrown a lifeline to avoid bankruptcy.

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