Energy shares trading in big volumes

Peter McIntyre.
Peter McIntyre.
Large tranches of Contact Energy shares have been changing hands across the NZX in recent weeks, probably from offshore institutional investors looking at ''green'' renewable energy options.

While Meridian Energy shares have also been popular, large parcels of tens of millions of Contact Energy shares had been traded, going back into last month, Craigs Investment Partners broker Peter McIntyre said.

Yesterday alone, by about 2pm, about 15.5million Contact shares had changed hands for more than $97million, while for the same period, the entire NZX market, including the Contact trades, had turned over $159million.

At the NZX close yesterday, a total of more than 15.8million Contact shares had changed hands, for about $101.1million.

''In that sector Contact and Meridian have been an attractive focus for Australian and other overseas interests because of their 'green' credentials, being almost 100% from renewable resources,'' he said.

Meridian is 100% renewables, Contact is less than 100%.

The large trades indicated they were institutional investors, he said.

Mr McIntyre said normal daily Contact trades would be 2 to 3million shares, but the daily average for the past week was 1.6million shares, worth about $10.2million each day.

On February 27 there was a single trade of 20.7million Contact shares, worth $129.9million, from an overseas superannuation fund, which cut its holding in the gen-tailer from 5.07% to 2.56%.

Since February 27, Contact shares had steadily traded up from $6.31 through to $6.49 yesterday, and closed the day down more than 1% at $6.40.

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