10 Oct 2012

Time for companies to list - fund manager

7:22 am on 10 October 2012

Fund manager Brian Gaynor says the time is ripe for companies to start listing if they want to take advantage of the buoyant stock market as people look for higher-yielding investments.

The stock market has risen by a fifth this year and is at near five-year highs, which some analysts say is due to investors seeking better returns amid low interest rates.

Mr Gaynor, Milford Asset Management's executive director, says there's been a huge demand for corporate bonds over the last four or five years but virtually none have being issued recently, which is turning investors to the market.

And he says the state of the market should be more attractive for firms to list.

Mr Gaynor says there is an unwarranted negative view of the NZX, but it had been doing well, mainly due to low interest rates available on bank deposits .

Mr Gaynor says the local bourse is doing better than its Australian counterpart, and the high exchange rates for the New Zealand dollar reflect a view among overseas investors that it's a safer haven than Australia.

But he says among New Zealand investors, there is the least interest in this country's share market that he has seen in 40 years.

"The fact that people aren't investing in the market tells me that ... it's doing well with a very low level of interest from New Zealand investors," Mr Gaynor says.

"If some of those people not interested in the market decide to get interested in the market, we could see further appreciation in prices".

The recent bid by Chinese whiteware company Haier for Fisher & Paykel Appliances has made people realise that some domestic companies are lowly-valued and there is the potential for further takeover activity.

Some analysts say they expect that New Zealand's key stock market index will crack the 4000 point mark as investors seek higher returns in a low interest rate world.

The NZX 50 index is near its five-year high at 3923.9 points, and some fund managers are optimistic its recent growth will continue.