The New Zealand sharemarket finished an eventful week with a small gain despite leading offshore indices falling, and heavyweight Fisher and Paykel Healthcare began its climb back.
The S&P/NZX 50 Index increased 29.54 points or 0.23 per cent to 12,700.17 after hitting an intraday low of 12,595.79. There were 60 gainers and 70 decliners over the whole market, and steady trading reached 51.86 million shares worth $167.08 million, as Auckland city centre traders worked from home.
The feature of the week was a rotation of investment out of high-growth shares such as technology and into "cyclical value stocks" that have under-performed during the Covid crisis but showing improvement in earnings, like Fletcher Building.
The turnaround in investor sentiment saw Fisher and Paykel Healthcare plunge 12.2 per cent to $32.43 on Tuesday. The global medical device supplier rose $1.13 or 3.46 per cent to $33.83 and its $41.3m worth of share transactions drove most of the gain on the local market.
Rickey Ward, of JBWere, said the market has gone back into defensive mode and investors were switching into the dividend-yield stocks.
Fletcher Building increased 2c to $5.37 and had gained more than a dollar in the past fortnight after sitting at $4.07 on October 29. Ward said Fletcher had been classified on the market as a problem child and people had been waiting for some encouraging news. "Fletcher is not broken and it clearly has an important role to play in the rebuilding of the New Zealand economy."
Mainfreight struck the $60 milestone, with $1.25 or 2.13 per cent gain. Meridian climbed a further 10c or 1.61 per cent to a new high of $6.30 and Mercury, another to benefit from the switch back to dividend stocks, rose 7c to $6.
Seafood company Sanford recovered 8c to $5.20 after reporting a slump in profit, and Auckland International Airport was up 14c or 1.84 per cent to $7.74.
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The Warehouse Group reported improved 2021 first-quarter trading and rose 11c or 4.6 per cent to $2.50. Group sales were up 6.3 per cent to $738.5m compared with the previous corresponding period, with growth at Noel Leeming (11.5 per cent) and Torpedo7 (41.8 per cent) and online sales grew 58 per cents, representing 11.3 per cent of total revenue for the quarter.
Utilities investor Infratil fell 5c to $5.35 after earlier reporting a 50 per cent fall to $27.8m in net profit for the six months ending September, but operating earnings (ebitdaf) were up 12.4 per cent to $229.5m.
Pushpay Holdings was down 25c or 3.23 per cent to $7.50; a2 Milk slipped 33 or 2.11 per cent to $15.32; and Serko declined 15c or 2.61 per cent to $5.60.
The property stocks had falls. Argosy was down 3c or 2.04 per cent to $1.44; Kiwi Property fell 1.5c to $1.30, Goodman Property Trust declined 4c to $2.39, Stride declined 4c to $2.28, Property for Industry lost 2.5c to $2.925, and Precinct Properties slipped 1c to $1.20.
New Zealand-bred cloud accounting firm Xero was down 1.35 per cent to A$121.83 ($129.17) at 5.45pm on the ASX 200 Index after reporting strong growth in its profit the day before.
Mobile engagement provider Plexure Group, seeking a secondary listing on the Australian ASX, has raised $32m through an institutional placement at an offer price of $1.20 a share, with key customer McDonald's participating to maintain its 9.9 per cent shareholding. Plexure's share price fell 15c or 9.68 per cent to $1.34.