New Zealand shares rose, following international markets, with ANZ Banking Group, Genesis Energy and SkyCity Entertainment Group leading the index. Steel & Tube fell as regulators investigate the manner in which it certified its earthquake reinforcing mesh.
The S&P/NZX 50 advanced 10.5 points, or 0.16 per cent, to 6573.46, less of a rise than Asian markets. Within the index, 23 stocks rose, 15 fell and 12 were unchanged. Turnover was $205 million.
"We saw a strong rebound in oil prices overnight," said Mark Lister, head of private wealth research at Craigs Investment Partners. "Some of the sectors that are performing well overseas are the resource and energy stocks, and since we don't really have any of those we're not participating in the rally to the same degree that Australia and some of those other markets are."
"We're also just below a record high, so there's probably not as much juice in the tank as there is in some of the other markets that are still below where they started the year and where they peaked last year," Lister said.
Dual-listed bank ANZ led the index, rising 2 per cent to $29.20. Westpac Banking Group gained 0.5 per cent to $36.90.
Genesis Energy advanced 1.9 per cent to $2.11.
Metro Performance Glass rose 1.9 per cent to $1.65 after falling 1.8 per cent in Wednesday's trading. It's down 5.8 per cent so far this year.
SkyCity Entertainment Group increased 1.7 per cent to $4.94. The stock was the best performer on the index on Wednesday after an article in the Australian Financial Review suggested Star Entertainment Group, which owns Sydney's Star casino, may be looking to make a bid.
Orion Health Group gained 1.6 per cent to $3.15.
Steel & Tube Holdings was the worst performer, dropping 3.4 per cent to $2.29. The Commerce Commission is investigating the building products company after its chief executive admitted selling "many thousands of sheets" of earthquake reinforcing mesh wrongly certified with an independent laboratory's logo. The company has described the error as an oversight.
"It's suffering from the news," Lister said. "It's come under some scrutiny for it. It has put out a statement but the market's still taking a reasonably cautious view of that news story at the moment."
New Zealand Refining Company fell 3.3 per cent to $3.24. An increased oil price means the company's margins narrow.
Sky Network Television shed 1.6 per cent to $4.98. The stock, which closed as low as $4.12 earlier this year, had rallied 11 per cent in the first three trading sessions this week, with rumours it could be added to a new global index or exchange traded fund.
"They've obviously had a big rebound of late, so they've just given up some of those gains. There may be a bit of profit taking," Lister said.
Though the index as a whole didn't fall yesterday, a number of stocks went ex dividend.
Spark closed at $3.40 after paying an interim dividend of 11c a share, along with a special dividend of 1.5c. Heartland Bank was at $1.20 after giving up rights to an interim dividend of 3.5c yesterday, while Freightways closed at $6.19 as it prepares to pay an interim dividend of 12.75c on April 4.