Investors played the waiting game during a quiet day's trading on the New Zealand sharemarket – with only a handful of stocks making significant gains.
The S&P/NZX 50 Index finished at 11,790.54, up 42.5 points or 0.36 per cent, after drifting between an intraday high of 11,754.93 and low of $11,799.38. A total of 54.42 million shares worth $152.05 million changed hands, and there were 72 gainers and 62 decliners over the whole market.
Shane Solly, portfolio manager with Harbour Asset Management, said people are watching what happens in the global markets, particularly the pull-back in technology stocks in the United States.
He said US futures were up 1.2 per cent and to a degree this suggests the market over there has a better tone. "But the markets globally are on the back foot and it will be interesting to see how the US rolls. The election there, and in New Zealand, is also having an influence."
The Government's announcement to extend Alert Level 2.5 in Auckland for at least another week did not drag the market down – though it will again affect the potential profitability of services companies.
Telecommunications network operator Chorus, taking a spot in the S&P/ASX 200 Index, rose 34c or 3.86 per cent to a record high of $9.15. Fisher and Paykel Healthcare, which is moving into the ASX 100, climbed 10c to $33.20.
Pushpay was up 20c or 2.67 per cent to $7.70, Ryman Healthcare gained 12c to $13.86, Freightways rose 11c to $7.55, and Briscoe Group climbed 12c or 2.96 per cent to $4.17 after producing a strong financial result last week.
Tourism Holdings, due to report on Friday, came out with an early upgrade to its full-year financial result and its share price shot up 25c or 12.89 per cent to $2.19. The company said its underlying net profit for the year ending June will be about $20m – compared with the previous guidance of $17.5-$19.5m.
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That result excludes a one-off gain of $9.3m from the partial Togo exit, a tax benefit of $1.1m in the United States and the $3.1m goodwill write-off attributed to Kiwi Experience. Its net debt is $128m.
Solly said it is encouraging that Tourism Holdings has been able to sustain its level of profit – "it's better than most people expected." Overall, the market has been slow to respond to a New Zealand earnings season that generally was solid.
Metlifecare edged ahead 1c to $5.95 on news that the Overseas Investment Office has granted Asia Pacific Village Group approval to buy 100 per cent of its shares in a $1.27 billion takeover. Asia Pacific, which is owned by Swedish-based private equity firm, EQT Infrastructure IV, making a $6 a share offer that is backed by cornerstone shareholder, NZ Super Fund. Shareholders will vote on the scheme of arrangement at a special meeting on October 2.
SkyCity Entertainment went through the $3 mark, climbing 6c to $3.05. Solly said there was a better tone to the stock as more people are getting comfortable going back to the casino. Sky Network Television also made strides, gaining 0.3c or 2 per cent to 15.3c.
Amongst the energy stocks, Mercury was up 7.4c to $5.19, Contact gained 6c to $6.31, while Meridian was down 4c to $4.95.
The NZ dollar rallied, much to the concern of Kiwi exporters, moving during the day from 66.53c to 67.01c against the US greenback.