Jamie Gray is a business reporter for the NZ Herald

NZ sharemarket ends strongly on Clinton factor

Photo / File
Photo / File

The New Zealand sharemarket rallied by 2.4 per cent today on the back of news from FBI director James Comey that there was no evidence in newly-discovered emails to warrant criminal charges against the US presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

A win for Clinton at this week's US Presidential election is seen as being a more favourable outcome for the markets compared with one for her Republican opponent, the staunchly anti-free trade Donald Trump.

Comey's initial decision to make a renewed inquiry into Clinton's emails came as a blow the Clinton campaign last week and gave fresh momentum to Trump at a crucial moment.

The FBI chief's latest statement, which came out early today, said a new batch of emails linked to Hillary Clinton's private email server "have not changed our conclusion" that she committed no criminal wrongdoing.

In response, the benchmark S&P/NZX50 Index closed 163.79 points higher at 6872.26 after last week entering correction territory by sinking more than 10 per cent from its record peak.

The Clinton factor was also seen as a supportive element for the Australian share market. In Australia late in the trading day, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index was up 1.3 per cent 52.49.

David Price, director of institutional equities at brokers Forsyth Barr, said the markets' gain was in response to the news about Clinton but that trading volumes were very light, indicating investors had taken to the sidelines until the result of the US election is known on Wednesday.

"It [the news about Clinton] probably turned people more to the positive front," Price said.

"So at this stage that's the favoured outcome if she was to win," he said.

"The volume was spartan and will probably remain that way until we get a clear picture of what is actually happening."

Price said a lot would depend on whether the result was clear or "opaque".
Rickey Ward, New Zealand equities manager at JB Were, said the market looked like it had been oversold last week relative to other markets - which dropped by around 5 per cent from their peaks.

Grant Williamson, director at Hamilton Hindin Greene, said markets would react negatively if Trump won.

"The market has been pretty nervous as Trump got closer in the polls, and we're expecting a volatile week until we know the results," he said.

The local market has been sold off in the past month, hitting a four-month low of 6,708.47 on Friday.

Foreign and domestic sharemarkets have been sold down over the last month in the expectation that the low interest rate environment is fast reaching its end.

In the background, interest rates in the New Zealand and around the world are on the rise.

US 10-year bond yields were last at 1.82 per cent, up from 1.50 per cent three months ago and in New Zealand, the equivalent government bond was at 2.76 per cent from 2.10 per cent.

This week, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand is expected to cut its official cash rate by a quarter of a percentage point to 1.75 per cent but economists expect this to be the end of the current easing cycle, which started in April last year.

The US Federal Reserve is expected to raise its official rates in December.

Additional reporting Businessdesk

- NZ Herald

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