Resurgent energy stocks lit up an otherwise quiet day on the New Zealand sharemarket, which made a small gain on another late surge in trading.
The S&P/NZX 50 Index finished 41.13 points or 0.34 per cent ahead at 12,016.15 after falling as low as 11,923.94. There were 82 gainers and 56 decliners on volume of 53.78 million shares worth $175.85 million.
Since Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the Labour Party, if re-elected, would find a way to keep the Tiwai Pt aluminium smelter operating for at least three to five years, the energy stocks have gone on a winning run.
Meridian climbed 22c or 4.37 per cent to $5.26, Contact was up 7c to $7.27, Genesis gained 5c to $3.06, Trustpower edged ahead 3c to $7.30, and the thinly traded Vector, 75 per cent owned by Entrust, climbed 13c or 3.16 per cent to $4.25.
Dan Stratful, investment adviser with Forsyth Barr, said investors are attracted to the electricity shares. They are defensive and they pay good dividends.
The index's leading stock Fisher and Paykel Healthcare again flattened the market, falling 47c to $33.30, after reaching a high of $37.68 on August 28. Stratful said people will start viewing Fisher and Paykel as a buying opportunity – "when it gets into the early $30, I think there will be support. KiwiSaver money finds its way into quality shares like Fisher and Paykel."
The market sentiment wasn't helped by President Donald Trump's latest move to call off the latest economic stimulus negotiations until after the November election. Trump said "I have instructed my representatives to stop negotiating until after the election when, immediately after I win, we will pass a major stimulus bill that focuses on hardworking Americans and small business."
The Twitter statement caused the Dow Jones Industrial Average to make an abrupt turn and it finished overnight 1.34 per cent down at 27,772.76, after having a 600 point swing. The S&P 500 Index fell 1.4 per cent to 3360.97 and the Nasdaq Composite decreased 1.57 per cent to 11,154.60.
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Stratful said most investors are expecting some volatility in the lead-up to the United States election on November 3.
In New Zealand, three top 50 stocks made up recent lost ground. Chorus rebounded with a 12c gain to $8.84, a2 Milk was up 2c to $15.50, and Mainfreight rose 10c to $47.10.
Serko continued its strong move, up another 4c to $4.85; Skellerup Holdings gained 6c to $2.85; and Auckland International Airport rose 13.5c to $7.535.
Briscoe Group fell 7c to $3.95 but fellow retailer Hallenstein Glasson was up 13c or 2.22 per cent to $5.98. Vista Group lost 9c or 584 per cent to $1.45, and NZME was down 4c or 6.35 per cent to 59c after its strong run.
Air New Zealand was down 2c to $1.54, with its latest operating statistics showing how tough present life is. The number of passengers carried in August, compared with the same month last year, was down 73.6 per cent from 1.32m to 350,000, and revenue passenger kilometres fell 91 per cent from $2.94m to $262,000. The passenger load factor was 36.5 per cent compared with 83.3 per cent for the same month last year.
Australian fund manager Investors Mutual Limited reduced its stake in SkyCity Entertainment from 8.16 per cent to 7.03 per cent, and SkyCity's price slipped 1c at $3.
Cannasouth's co-founder and executive director Nicholas Foreman has stepped down and the medicinal cannabis company's share price rose 4c or 4.44 per cent to 94c.