New Zealand shares rose again as Chinese manufacturing figures reached a two-year high, adding to increasingly positive sentiment about global economic conditions in 2013.
The NZX 50 of leading stocks rose 2.19 points, or 0.52 per cent, to 4189.914. Within the index, 22 stocks rose, 17 fell, and 11 were unchanged. Leading the market higher was NZX, the stock exchange operator, which last week reported a 27 per cent increase in the volume of trading in December 2012 over the same month a year earlier, and a near-record 25 per cent rise in the leading index over the calendar year. Equity analysts are predicting a surge back to equities this year as low global interest rates force investors back to higher-yielding investments.
NZX shares rose 2.34 per cent to $1.31, representing an increase in value over the past 12 months of 13.43 per cent. The second-largest increase in percentage terms came from PGG Wrightson, which continued its see-saw pattern to rise 2.33 per cent to 44c.
Fonterra Shareholders Fund, which is sparking debate about whether its units are over-valued, put on 1.53 per cent to $7.31.
Two leading fertiliser firms yesterday voluntarily withdrew a commonly used nitrogen inhibitor, DCD, from the market after finding traces of the compound, which reduces greenhouse gas emissions of nitrous oxide found in cattle urine, in milk products.
Sky TV had a strong day, up 1.61 per cent to $5.05 and infrastructure investor Infratil was up 1.28 per cent to $2.37, an increase of almost 25 per cent in the past year.
After pushing recent highs again on Wednesday, Fletcher Building came off 1.61 per cent, or 15c, to $9.19, although the market's largest stock by capitalisation has still risen 47.93 per cent in the past year. Fellow construction sector supplier Steel & Tube was down 1.52 per cent to $2.60.BusinessDesk