Market close: Sharemarket’s late surge turns around day

The New Zealand sharemarket woke up late in the day and gained nearly a half per cent – but it closed the week lagging offshore bourses.

The S&P/NZX 50 Index drifted for most of the day, reaching a low of 12,960.44. But in the last hour before the Waitangi long weekend trading increased considerably and the index turned around, closing 61.73 points or 0.48 per cent ahead at 13,053.87. This occurred after another strong day on Wall Street and the Australian exchange.

Volume reached 65.3 million share transactions worth $169.16 million, and there were 101 gainers and just 42 decliners over the whole market.

The index fell nearly 1.3 per cent this week, while the S&P/ASX 200 Index across the Tasman climbed 3.54 per cent. At 5.45pm (NZ time) it was up 1.12 per cent to 6841 points.

In the United States overnight, the technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite hit an all-time high of 13,777.74 with a 1.23 per cent rise. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, up 1.08 per cent to 31,055.86, and the S&P 500 Index, up 1.09 per cent to a near-high of 3871.74, also rallied.

Shane Solly, Harbour Asset Management portfolio manager, said “our market is more defensive than others overseas with an abundance of utilities rather than growth stocks.

“Johnson & Johnson are seeking Food and Drug Administration approval for emergency use of its vaccine, the third on the market, and this is seen as a signal for more re-opening of economies. Stocks that have had a tough time with Covid will begin to pick up.

“We had a day where the cyclical stocks such as Mainfreight, Fletcher Building and even Steel & Tube and the dual-listed banks very much outperformed others,” Solly said.

Mainfreight climbed $1.89 or 2.89 per cent to $67.30; Fletcher Building was up 9c to $6.57; and Steel & Tube gained 4c or 3.96 per cent to $1.05. ANZ Banking Group rose 58c or 2.21 per cent to $26.86, and Westpac Banking Corporation increased 63c or 2.75 per cent to $23.58.

Stocks that have been knocked around by Covid-19 showed plenty of life. Software travel firm Serko rose 15c or 2.65 per cent to $5.80; seafood company Sanford was up 19c or 4.03 per cent to $4.90; and cinema software firm Vista Group increased 3c or 1.95 per cent to $1.57.

The energy stocks had one of their quieter but more positive days – Contact was up 5c to $8.15, Genesis gained 10.5c or 2.78 per cent to $3.885, and Meridian increased 2c to $6.99. Tilt Renewables, now the focus of a possible takeover bid, rose 18c or 2.83 per cent to $6.55.

The heavy hitter holding the market down this time was Fisher and Paykel Healthcare, falling 44c to $33.50 on trade worth $27.2m.

Port of Tauranga fell 4c to $7.37 while its fellow port companies had rises – Napier Port was up 8c or 2.37 per cent to $3.44, and Marsden Maritime Holdings gained 6c to $6.44.

Ebos Group climbed closer to $30 with an 18c gain to $29.40; a2 Milk picked up 10c to $11.07; Oceania Healthcare increased 3c or 1.91 per cent to a new high of $1.60; and eftpos provider Smartpay rose 5c or 5.13 per cent to $1.025.

The reinvigorated retailers Warehouse Group increased 8c or 2.53 per cent to $3.24, and Briscoe Group was up 10c to $5.60. Fast food operator Restaurant Brands climbed 41c or 3.52 per cent to $12.07.

In one of its strongest weeks for a long time, Sky Network Television rose a further 0.03c to 18.3c, having gained more than 16 per cent over three days’ trading. Following its earnings upgrade earlier this week, Sky TV told the market that the Commerce Commission has granted clearance for NEP New Zealand to buy its six outside broadcasting units and equipment and establish a 10-year services agreement.

Another big mover this week has been NZME, climbing 8c or 10.26 per cent to 86c. Its share price has risen more than 20 per cent from 71c on Monday.

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