Kiwi shares remain flat

NIKO KLOETEN
Last updated 05:00 05/07/2014

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Record-breaking performances by global markets have failed to lift the New Zealand stock exchange, which is taking a "breather" after a stellar run.

The Dow Jones index broke the 17,000-point barrier for the first time yesterday, following a better-than-expected jobs report for the United States economy.

The S&P 500 and MSCI World index also hit records, while the Nasdaq index is at its highest since the tech bubble in 2000, and also set records this past week.

In contrast, New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 has done "absolutely zilch" for the past three months, according to Mark Lister, head of private client research for Craigs Investment Partners.

"It's gone completely sideways. The US market is up 5 per cent and Europe is up more than 4 per cent but New Zealand has been a bit of a laggard." Lister said before its recent slowdown the New Zealand stock market had been one of the world's best performers, up by 24 per cent in 2012, 16 per cent last year and 8 per cent in the first three months of this year.

"The New Zealand stock market has had an outstanding run, much better than the US or Australian or British markets. It's just taking a bit of a breather while some of those other markets play a bit of catch-up."

Although the NZX 50 (which includes dividends) is less than 2 per cent down from its all-time high of 5232 points on May 2, Lister said looking only at share prices, New Zealand was still 10 per cent off its peak in 2007.

US stocks, on the other hand, are up 26 per cent since their 2007 peak.

Hamilton Hindin Greene director Grant Williamson said the New Zealand market was in a "consolidation phase" and there were several reasons it had stalled.

"As we get closer to the election it always creates a bit of uncertainty. Also, dairy prices have come off, which makes investors worried, particularly the offshore investment community.

"If the New Zealand dollar is coming under pressure this could put foreign investors off."

Williamson also said the recent spate of IPOs was dragging on performance, as investors pulled some of their money out of other companies to invest in newly listed companies such as Serko, Gentrack and Intueri.

The listings have helped boost trading volumes, up nearly 22 per cent for the year to date according to the latest NZX monthly metrics.

"It always takes a while for our market to ingest large capital raisings."

Financial adviser Norman Stacey, of Diversified Investment Strategies, said New Zealand's economic performance was strong but had possibly peaked, while other economies were going more slowly but had more room for improvement.

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"Markets . . . are looking for improved economic performance. The US and Europe have quite a lot of growth upside," he said.

"The New Zealand market has had such a strong run that its prices are now high by most historic measures."

- Stuff

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