The New Zealand sharemarket this time failed to be inspired by further strong rebounds overseas, trading flat with few major moves among the blue chip stocks.
The S&P/NZX 50 Index closed just ahead at 12,720.84, up 11.69 points or 0.09 per cent, after having a dip in early afternoon and reaching a low of 12,675.53.
There were 87 gainers and 50 decliners over the whole market, and the volume was boosted by a number of index rebalancing flows involving property companies. The overall trading reached 104 million share transactions worth $273.28 million.
Dan Stratful, investment adviser with Forsyth Barr, said the local market underperformed yet again despite rebounds in the United States and strength across the Tasman.
He said the New Zealand market is down 3 per cent so far this year compared with Australia up 10 per cent and the United States 13-15 per cent.
"The Covid delta variant is still a concern for markets and I'm surprised those offshore have been quite so buoyant. The way the Covid cases are spreading it could all derail quite easily and cloud global economic recovery."
Singapore which had just fully opened up has had a sudden spike in Covid cases and put in place new restrictions. New South Wales, Victoria, and South Australia, representing half of Australia's population, remain in lockdown.
On Wall Street overnight, the leading indices moved past the big drop at the start of the week, boosted by strong corporate earnings, led by Coca-Cola and Johnson & Johnson.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 286 points or 0.83 per cent to 34,798; the S&P 500 Index was up 082 per cent to 4358.69; and the Nasdaq Composite increased 0.92 per cent to 14,631.95.
The S&P/ASX 200 Index was up 0.97 per cent to 7379.40 points at 5.45pm NZ time.
At home, Goodman Property Trust increased 5.5c or 2.3 per cent to $2.45 with 28.88m shares worth $72.13m changing hands; Stride Property rose 2c to $2.51 on trade worth $15.58m; Argosy was down 2c to $1.63 on trade of $15.98m; and Kiwi Property was unchanged on $1.18 after $14.9m transactions.
Fisher and Paykel Healthcare was down 20c to $31.65; a2 Milk fell 12c to $7.31; Synlait declined 7c or 1.83 per cent to $3.76; Spark slipped 4c to $4.77; and Mainfreight shed 85c to $77.40.
Port of Tauranga gained another 5c to $7.10 after reaching a low of $6.70 last week, and Napier Port was down 7c or 2.08 per cent to $3.30. Fletcher Building increased 13c or 1.79 per cent to $7.40, and Pushpay Holdings was up 4c or 2.29 per cent to $1.79.
Reopening stocks SkyCity Entertainment increased 6c or 1.86 per cent to $3.26; Vista Group rose 4c or 1.79 per cent to $2.28; Serko gained 4c to $7.50; and Tourism Holdings was up 3c to $2.42.
Comvita increased 6c or 1.82 per cent to $3.36; TIL Logistics climbed 8c or 6.56 per cent to $1.30; and Radius Residential Care gained 2c or 2.5 per cent to 82c.
Contact and Meridian Energy told the market they are planning to develop the world's first and largest green hydrogen plant, possibly in Southland once the supply agreement with New Zealand Aluminium Smelters finishes at the end of 2024.
A McKinsey & Co report commissioned by the energy companies said the plant had potential to earn hundreds of millions in export revenue and help decarbonise economies around the world. Global demand for hydrogen could increase more than sevenfold to 553m tonnes by 2050.
Contact was up 3c to $8.26, Meridian increased 2c to $5.35, and Mercury climbed 15c or 2.24 per cent to $6.84.
Livestock Improvement Corporation (LIC) surged 14c or 11.57 per cent to $1.35 after reporting a strong 2021 financial year. LIC's revenue increased 3.4 per cent to $249m and net profit rose 31 per cent to $22.9m for the year ending May.
LIC has no debt and is paying a final dividend of 12.51c a share or $17.8m on August 20. The fully imputed dividend represents a 14.4 per cent gross yield based on the $1.21 share price, before the latest rise. LIC is recruiting a new chief executive following Wayne McNee's decision to step down at the end of November.
Insurer Tower told the market it has received 142 claims, with more to come, following flooding on the West Coast and in Wellington, Marlborough and Auckland last weekend. Tower said the financial impact of previous large events this year is $14m, at the excess for its reinsurance programme, and the latest floods will be covered by reinsurance up to $7.5m. Tower's share price declined 1.5c or 2.13 per cent to 69c.