New Zealand shares extended gains yesterday for a fourth day led by retailers as the sector starts to show renewed signs of vigour. Pumpkin Patch led gainers.
The NZX-50 index rose 2.07 points, or 0.1 per cent to 3326.74. Within the index, 22 stocks gained, 11 fell and 17 were unchanged. Turnover was $133.4 million.
Retailers paced gains, with children's clothing chain Pumpkin Patch up 3.9 per cent to 81c, outdoor equipment retailer Kathmandu gaining 1.8 per cent to $1.73 and clothing chain Hallenstein Glasson rising 1.1 per cent to $3.67. Hallenstein on Wednesday boosted first-half earnings by about 25 per cent to as much as $9 million on record Christmas sales and strong January trading.
Warehouse Group, the biggest listed retailer, was at the other end of the scale, falling 3.2 per cent to $2.71, the biggest decline on the day.
"Good retailers will continue to do well," said Shane Solly, portfolio manager at Mint Asset Management. "Markets have been strong - people are starting to think about investing in equities again."
Contact Energy rose 0.8 per cent to $4.81 after the energy company's BBB credit rating with a stable outlook was affirmed by Fitch Ratings, with improvements in operational flexibility coming in spite of adverse weather conditions.
Fisher & Paykel Healthcare rose 0.5 per cent to $2.12 after the company said it renewed an exclusive distribution agreement with global medical technology firm CareFusion.
Steel & Tube kicked off the earnings season, reporting a 24 per cent fall in profit to $6.4 million, in line with guidance and just ahead of broker First NZ Capital's expectations. Solly said a key theme for the earnings season would be the impact of New Zealand's currency on the ability of exporters to compete globally. The kiwi has been trading near five-month highs.
Dual-listed shares in Australian phone company Telstra fell 0.2 per cent to $4.33 on the NZX after the local unit, TelstraClear, reported a return to pre-tax profitability of $1 million. Retail rival Telecom gained 0.5 per cent to $2.16.
Logistics company Freightways fell 2.3 per cent to $3.77, while stock exchange operator NZX declined 1.8 per cent to $2.70.
Dairy farmer co-operative Livestock Investment was unchanged at $5.05 after it reported a 12 per cent gain in first-half profit to $28 million.