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NZ shares rise for second day

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 5/08/2016 Jonathan Underhill

© Reuters New Zealand shares rose for a second day amid bullish expectations for A2 Milk's growth and earnings and after investors welcomed strong inflows for Meridian Energy's hydro storage lakes.

The S&P/NZX 50 Index 10.33 points, or 0.1 per cent, to 7,308.41. Within the index, 20 stocks rose, 20 fell and 11 were unchanged. Turnover was $122 million.

A2 rose about 2 per cent to $2.06, leading the index higher. In June, the milk marketer lifted its full-year guidance and said it is well placed to cope with changes to infant formula regulations in China.

"It's a business with a lot of momentum and some pretty interesting products," said James Lindsay, senior portfolio manager at Nikko Asset Management. There were still some question marks around China's formula regulations, he added.

Meridian gained 1.8 per cent to $2.86. The company said last month that its June hydro storage inflows were at 136 per cent of their historical average. The shares are up 13 per cent in the past 30 days.

Lindsay says in the run-up to earnings season, "companies seem be doing ok on average" and there have been few "pre-reporting season confessions", or profit downgrades.

A number of company shares have been pushed up to their valuations or beyond, making them vulnerable to any big earnings disappointments. But there were global reasons why the New Zealand stock market is near record highs, he said.

Among the few that have "confessed", Intueri Education Group sank 24 per cent to 26 cents after the private training provider's chief executive Rob Facer unexpectedly quit, and the company said 2016 earnings were likely to drop 36 per cent.

Intueri said first-half ebitda fell to about $10m from $10.5m, and annual earnings would be about $15m.

Restaurant Brands New Zealand advanced 1.6 per cent to $5.59 and Heartland Bank rose 1.5 per cent to $1.37.

Xero gained 1.5 per cent to $20.09 and Property for Industry was up 1.2 per cent to $1.66.

Chorus was the biggest decliner on the index, falling 2.7 per cent to $4.36 and Orion Health Group dropped 1.5 per cent to $4.77.

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