MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares mixed; Ryman, Diligent up, Xero down

Nov. 15 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand shares were mixed along with the results of companies with a Sept. 30 balance date. Ryman Healthcare and Diligent Board Member Services rose as investors cheered their results, while Xero and Rakon fell after posting losses.

The NZX 50 Index fell 4.05 points, or 0.1 percent, to 3951.50. Within the index, 25 stocks fell, 15 rose and 10 were unchanged. Turnover was $85 million.

Diligent rose 2.8 percent to a record close of $4.07 after yesterday reporting a 145 percent gain in third quarter revenue and wider earnings margins on its software for managing corporate governance information flows, known as Diligent Boardbooks.

Ryman, the biggest retirement village operator on the NZX, gained 1.2 percent to $4.13, edging back toward the record level reached in September. Today it posted a 15 percent gain in first-half profit and bumped up its dividend as fee income grew. Profit rose to a record $68.8 million while revenue rose 19 percent to $87.9 million.

Ryman’s results “were rock solid,” said Matthew Goodson, a portfolio manager at BT Funds Management. The value of its villages and units is benefiting from a correlation to stronger house prices, he added.

Fletcher Building, the biggest company on the exchange by market capitalisation, rose 1.2 percent to $7.43. Telecom, the biggest phone company on the NZX 50, climbed 0.2 percent to $2.38.

Contact Energy declined 1.5 percent to $5.19 amid concerns about the impact of low wholesale electricity prices.

Goodson said funds will be flowing back into the market following Haier’s takeover of F&P Appliances and Guinness Peat Group’s purchase of its capital notes. New Zealand is still a high-yielding market “and it’s a world where it’s very hard to find yield.”

Guinness Peat was unchanged at 58.5 cents.

Xero, the cloud-based accounting service, fell 4.7 percent to $5.95 after saying it will continue to burn cash to build sales as its losses widen. The loss was $7 million in the six months ended Sept. 30, up from a loss of $3.7 million a year earlier. Sales soared 119 percent to $17.3 million, closely followed by a 105 percent jump in operating expenses to $22.8 million.

“With Xero you’re either a believer or not a believer. At this point it’s impossible to apply any cash-flow-based analysis,” Goodson said. “It’s clear they have built a product and had some success getting some market share. At the moment it is engaging in a winner takes all strategy.”

Rakon, which makes components for navigation systems and smart phones, fell 4.4 percent to 43 cents. The Auckland based company posted a loss of $3.96 million for the six months to Sept. 30 as revenues fell and operating expenses rose during a period of sluggish growth in major markets.

Jeweller Michael Hill International gained 1.6 percent to $1.24 while Kiwi Income Property Trust fell 1.7 percent to $1.14. Nuplex Industries declined 2.1 percent to $2.84.

(BusinessDesk)

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