22 Sep 2015

Overseas investors still keen on NZ shares

1:06 pm on 22 September 2015

Shares in New Zealand listed companies remain in solid demand by overseas investors despite being seen generally as expensive and underperforming compared with global stocks.

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Photo: 123RF

Forsyth Barr says foreign portfolio ownership levels eased a shade to 44 percent in the three months to the end of June, having peaked in the first quarter of the year, and well up on historic ownership levels.

An investment strategist at Forsyth Barr, Brian Stewart, said Australian investors had been sellers, perhaps to lock in profits, before the New Zealand dollar began falling significantly, and perhaps because they also saw better buying opportunities at home.

But he said other overseas buyers had been active, attracted by solid returns that New Zealand companies offer compared with overseas markets.

"New Zealand is a very high yield market, one of the highest in the world."

Mr Stewart expected high foreign ownership to continue, although the balance could shift quickly as European and United States markets continued to pick up.

"We would still see it moving lower rather than higher. We see that from our own internal flows. We are seeing much more opportunities globally than locally."