26 Mar 2014

NZX-50 slips 0.11%

9:08 pm on 26 March 2014

The country's biggest company, Fonterra, reported its first-half profit has halved, although the announcement has had little impact on its shareholders fund.

The dairy processor and exporter made $217 million in the six months to the end of January, compared with $459 million in the same period a year earlier.

Fonterra's chief executive, Theo Spierings, says it was an exceptional period, particularly in terms of the prices of raw products it sells to the market, which affect its margins on profit margins on the consumer products it manufactures. Its divisions making fast-moving consumer goods have to pay market prices for their raw materials, even when they are bulk powders made by Fonterra.

The benchmark top 50 index fell 5.81 points to close at 5125 points, down 0.11 per cent.

Shares in Fonterra's Shareholders Fund, which anyone can own, have fallen 7 cents to $6.15

Other movers include a 19 cent fall in Fletcher Building stock to $9.42, Xero shares fell 57 cents to $43.45, while shares in Sky TV fell 22 cents to $6.27.

And TRS investments rose another 10 percent today to 1.1 cents after yesterday's announcement that it would be the shell company which would bring Kim Dotcom's Mega business to the market. Shares were at 0.1 of a cent before the announcement.

The New Zealand dollar is higher against the currencies of all the country's major trading partners.

The senior foreign exchange strategist at ANZ, Sam Tuck, says positive consumer sentiment figures from the US have been the driving factor.

At the end of the local business day, the Kiwi was trading at 85.83 US cents, 93.74 Australian cents, 51.94 British pence, point-6217 euro, 87.82 yen and 5.33 renminbi.

Across the Tasman, Australian shares bounced up on Wednesday from Tuesday's fall with the benchmark 0ASX200 gaining 40.2 points, or 0.8%, to close at 5376.8 as mining stocks lifed on rises in prices of metals such as copper and aluminium.