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Airport's growth gives share index a lift

Auckland Airport, the nation's busiest gateway, rose 1.4 per cent to $6.745.  Photo / Richard Robinson
Auckland Airport, the nation's busiest gateway, rose 1.4 per cent to $6.745. Photo / Richard Robinson

New Zealand shares rose, pushing the S&P/NZX 50 Index to its highest in almost a month, as investors cheered growth in the number of airlines using Auckland International Airport and the outlook for low interest rates helped lift companies including Trade Me Group, Chorus and Mighty River Power.

The NZX 50 gained 14.72 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 6940.95. Within the index, 23 stocks rose, 18 fell and nine held. Turnover was about $80 million as a typically low-volume Monday was exacerbated by the looming US Independence Day holiday.

The benchmark index has gained each day since June 24 when it fell as the results of Britain's Brexit referendum were released.

Since then, British politicians have signalled they are in no rush to formally begin the process of leaving the European Union. At the same time, there has been little sign that central banks want to rush to raise interest rates, keeping the demand for equity yields intact.

Auckland Airport, the nation's busiest gateway, rose 1.4 per cent to $6.745. It last week welcomed daily flights between Los Angeles and Auckland by American Airlines, which became the 23rd international airline to fly to the city.

The new service will add 165,000 seats a year between NZ and the US. United Airlines' first San Francisco-Auckland flight in 13 years landed in NZ on Sunday. The airport's stock reached a record $6.895 on March 8.

"Auckland Airport is showing some very solid gains," said Grant Williamson, a director at Hamilton Hindin Greene. "International airlines are coming into the Auckland market creating more competition. It's very good for Auckland Airport."

Air New Zealand, the national carrier, rose about 1 per cent to $2.11.

Outdoor retailer Kathmandu rose 0.6 per cent to $1.60. Its shares have soared about 20 per cent since June 30, when it raised its forecast.

The NZ Superannuation Fund's stake in Kathmandu has fallen below 5 per cent as Mint Asset Management used the share price rise to sell some holdings, documents published to the NZX yesterday showed.

Trade Me Group, the auction website, rose 3.9 per cent to $4.75.

Telco network firm Chorus rose 2.2 per cent to $4.345 and Spark New Zealand, NZ's biggest telco, rose 0.6 per cent to $3.55.

Mighty River Power rose 0.3 per cent to $3 and TrustPower gained 0.3 per cent to $7.70 as its majority owner Infratil rose 0.3 per cent to $3.26.

Poultry firm Tegel Group Holdings gained 1.8 per cent to $1.66, while transport group Mainfreight rose 1.1 per cent to $16.90.

Summerset Group Holdings led gains among retirement village operators, rising 0.7 per cent to $4.51, while Metlifecare rose 0.5 per cent to $5.58 and Ryman Healthcare gained 0.3 per cent to $9.28.

Meridian Energy dropped 1.9 per cent to $2.56 and Vital Healthcare Property Trust fell 1.6 per cent to $2.155.

- BusinessDesk

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