Monday, February 23, 2015

Xero shares climb 24% in a week as seller leaves the market

Suze Metherell for NBR.co.nz writes: Shares of Xero [NZX: XRO], the cloud-based accounting software firm, have jumped 24 percent over the past week, amid market speculation a large seller has left the market.

The stock climbed as much as $4 to an intraday high of $20.40, the highest since October, from last Monday's closing price of $16.40. The stock recently traded at $20.00.

The Wellington-based firm's stock came under selling pressure last year, falling from a high of $45.99 in March to as low as $15 last October as investors mulled the outlook for growth, particularly in the US, while the escrow period for its 2013 capital raising, which saw it book $180 million from investors, came to an end.

Last week's sudden climb in the share price saw the stock market operator and regulator issue a 'please explain' notice to the company, asking Xero to confirm it was disclosing all material information which might be behind the gain. The tech firm confirmed it was, without issuing any further explanation to the gain in its shares.

Market sources told BusinessDesk they thought a large seller had exited the stock, removing any downwards pressure on its price.

"As far as I know it is mainly the selling has dried up, there was one large seller in the market place and he is pretty much gone," said Grant Williamson, director at Hamilton Hindin Greene. "The buyers are definitely back in control of the stock at the moment."

The appetite for Xero has flowed through to other tech-based companies, Williamson said. Diligent Board Member Services, the governance app developer, has gained 11 percent over the past month, and recently traded at $6.10, coming off from the highest level it had been since July 2013. Outside the benchmark index, Finzsoft Solutions, the software developer under a takeover attempt by its managing director and major shareholder, has gained 19 percent over the past month, and recently traded at $3.80.

"They're following on the back of Xero," Williamson said. "There has been renewed interest in all of those types of stocks and that's getting all the prices trading higher. Although the stocks that pay high dividends have done extremely well, investors are also looking to add a bit of growth to their portfolios as well."

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