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NZ shares eke out gains in thin trading

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 23/01/2017 Sean Martin

A rise in Auckland International Airport and defensive stocks like Kiwi Property Group offset a sharp fall in Comvita © Chameleons Eye/Rex Shutterstock A rise in Auckland International Airport and defensive stocks like Kiwi Property Group offset a sharp fall in Comvita New Zealand shares eked out gains on the first day of trading after US President Donald Trump's inauguration as a rise in Auckland International Airport and defensive stocks like Kiwi Property Group offset a sharp fall in Comvita.

The S&P/NZX 50 index rose 19.37 points, or 0.3 per cent, to 7,067.840.

Within the index, 26 stocks gained, 16 fell and eight were unchanged. Turnover was a light $83 million due to a holiday in Wellington.

"The big news of the day was the pretty disappointing profit warning from Comvita," said Brad Gordon, investment adviser for Hobson Wealth Partners.

Comvita ended down 17 per cent at $6.50. Earlier Monday the manuka honey products maker warned annual earnings will tumble by about two-thirds as the nation's unseasonably wet and windy weather saps the honey harvest and slow sales via China's informal trading channels.

That news also weighed on A2 Milk Co, which shed 4.4 per cent to $2.17 after China moved to tighten regulations in a bid to crack down on the grey market - or 'daigou'. "The avenues for direct selling into China are much tougher," said Gordon.

In the other direction, Auckland Airport rose 0.7 per cent to $6.85, Air New Zealand added 0.7 per cent to $2.18 and there were similar sized gains for Chorus, Spark and Fletcher Building.

New Zealand Refining Co was the top performer on the benchmark index rising 1.5 per cent to $2.69 and Kiwi Property gained 1.4 per cent to $1.44, possibly a defensive play as markets await more clarity on Trump's policies for the world's largest economy.

"There is a bit of nervousness out there," said Gordon.

Analysts said Monday that equity and foreign exchange markets are likely to tread water until there is more detail on his plans to accelerate economic growth, principally by easing taxes and regulation.

Hellaby Holdings ended unchanged at $3.58 after ASX-listed auto firm Bapcor installed four new directors at Hellaby Holdings after securing control of the New Zealand firm. L

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