Market close: Rod Duke newly minted billionaire as Briscoe Group shares reach new high

High-profile retailer Briscoe Group hit a new all-time high and its founder Rod Duke climbed in the billionaire stakes on a day when the New Zealand sharemarket could make little headway.

The S&P/NZX 50 Index fluctuated between a high of 13,113.05 and low of 13,058.02 before closing at 13,099.30, down 9.3 points or 0.07 per cent.

There were 64 gainers and 69 decliners over the whole market on strong volume of 73.5 million share transactions worth $226.1 million.

Following its strong half-year result, in which revenue grew 22.6 per cent, Briscoe Group rose 23c or 3.28 per cent to $7.24, surpassing its previous high of $7.01. Other retail stocks Hallenstein Glasson increased 17c or 2.39 per cent to $6.95, and Michael Hill International gained 2c or 2.33 per cent to 88c.

Duke, founder and managing director of the near 90 Briscoes Homeware, Rebel Sport and Living & Giving stores, has a 77 per cent shareholding in the Briscoe Group and his stake is now worth $1.2 billion based on the market capitalisation of $1.6b.

Jeremy Sullivan, investment adviser with Hamilton Hindin Greene, said Briscoe has had a fantastic Covid experience, with everyone wanting to fix up their homes during the pandemic and travel restrictions.

He said the market was flat on mixed trading and was dictated by the weaker inflation data coming out of the United States.

The August consumer price index was slightly below market expectations – prices increased 0.3 per cent for the month and 5.3 per cent annually – and all three leading indices fell.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.84 per cent to 34,577.57 points, S&P 500 declined 0.57 per cent to 4443.05, and Nasdaq Composite shed 0.45 per cent to 15,037.76.

Sullivan said the inflation data showed the US economic growth may be slowing. “Our Reserve Bank will be watching this closely, as we have a pent-up demand to increase interest rates.

“We are increasing the money supply and we have the fastest growing housing market in the world in real terms, just behind Turkey but their inflation rate is 19.5 per cent. The bank is wary about the housing market and it will have to walk a fine line between increasing interest rates and softening housing demand,” he said.

There were other strong stock moves. Online travel provider Serko, which will be added to the FTSE Global Small Index at the end of the week, rose 24c or 3.09 per cent to $8.

Another pioneering Kiwi technology company Vista – supplying cinema management software – gained 5c or 2 per cent to $2.55.

Meridian, the second biggest stock on capitalisation, did its best to keep the market in positive territory, rising 10c or 1.98 per cent to $5.15.

Ebos Group was up 32c to $35.02; Skellerup Holdings rose 14c or 2.62 per cent to $5.48; Freightways gained 15c to $12.92; Restaurant Brands collected 20c to $15.80; Heartland Group Holdings picked up another 5c or 2.22 per cent to $2.30; and NZX increased 4c or 2.34 per cent to $1.75.

Seeka, the country’s biggest kiwifruit grower and packer, increased 5c to $5.45 after expanding its business by buying Northland business Orangewood.

Port companies Marsden Maritime Holdings was up 10c to $6.47, and Napier Port rose 8c or 2.52 per cent to $3.26. DGL Group continued its strong run, gaining 7c or 2.27 per cent to $3.16.

EROAD recovered 24c or 4.28 per cent to $5.85; Harmoney rose 10c or 5.13 per cent to $2.05; Gentrack picked up 6c or 3.14 per cent to $1.97; and Solution Dynamics gained 7c or 2.41 per cent to $2.97.

Market leader Fisher and Paykel Healthcare was down 25c to $31.30; Mainfreight declined 65c to $95.10; Mercury Energy decreased 9.5c to $6.385; Chorus shed 10c to $6.72; Synlait Milk fell 7c or 2.22 per cent to $3.09; and Summerset Group Holdings was down 22c to $14.78.

Fellow retirement village operator Ryman Healthcare rose 20c to $15.20. Ryman revealed it is proposing a policy that all staff be vaccinated against Covid so its 38 villages are safe havens for residents.

Amongst the decliners, Evolve Education fell 5c or 6.33 per cent to 74c; Bremworth was down 2c or 2.35 per cent to 83c; and AFT Pharmaceuticals lost 10c or 2.33 per cent to $4.20.

NZ Automotive Investments, which owns 2 Cheap Cars, told the market that with Auckland remaining in lockdown its business, with six dealerships closed, continues to be affected. The company has now reduced its net profit forecast for the half year ending September to $1.4m-$1.6m, down from $1.87m.

NZ Auto said it remains in compliance with all bank covenants and has cash of $5.4m and net debt of $3.7m. Its share price slipped 1c to $1.13.

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