The strong, broad buying support that had been evident over the previous two trading days disappeared and the New Zealand sharemarket closed with a small fall. But Freightways continued to climb new peaks.
The S&P/NZX 50 Index was down 22.41 points or 0.18 per cent to 12,440.05 but had a late recovery in the final hour after going as low as 12,393.56 during the day.
There were 88 gainers and 50 decliners over the whole market on volume of 29.09 million share transactions worth $86.57 million.
Matt Goodson, managing director of Salt Funds Management, said over the past several days there had been decent inflows of money but these slowed and the market had a modest pull-back.
The market was led down by heavyweight Fisher and Paykel Healthcare, which fell 98c or 3.26 per cent to $29.12 on heavy trade worth $39.39m.
Goodson said the healthcare sector on Wall Street was weak overnight, and Abbott Laboratories was down more than 9 per cent and cut its full-year outlook because of a rapid decline in the demand for Covid tests.
"But closer to home, I think people are still coming to terms with Fisher and Paykel's result last week and what its hiatus looks like before growth reappears for the company," he said.
Courier and information management company Freightways has now risen more than 73 per cent over the past year, after picking up another 12c to reach a new high of $12.17.
Goodson said "clearly Freightways is a business that is in the right place at the time. With the move to more online operations, the company has more to deliver and people are optimistic about Freightways' medium term outlook."
Auckland International Airport rose 17c or 2.29 per cent to $7.59; Air New Zealand was up 4.5c or 2.73 per cent to $1.695; Fletcher Building collected 12c to $7.59; and the retailers Hallenstein Glasson gained 12c to $7.42, and Kathmandu increased 5c or 3.09 per cent to $1.67.
Synlait and a2 Milk continued to rebound, gaining 2c to $3.26, and 5c to $6.10 respectively. Amongst the energy stocks Mercury rose 9c to $6.89, and Genesis was up 4.5c to $3.445.
Other gainers were wine exporter Delegat Group, up 16c to $14.90; NZX rising 6c or 2.9 per cent to $2.13; Investore Property gaining 3c to $2.09; high-tech investor Enprise Group climbing 9c or 5.23 per cent to $1.81; and Smartpay Holdings increasing 4c or 5 per cent to 84c.
The ports had contrasting days. Napier Port recovered 10c or 2.77 per cent to $3.35 following its removal from the MSCI Small Cap Index, and Port of Tauranga fell 17c or 2.29 per cent to $7.26.
"It's swings and roundabouts for Port of Tauranga," said Goodson. "It has been a beneficiary of the Ports of Auckland woes and taken some of its business, but perhaps in the future Auckland can handle the large container volumes and look to get its market share back."
The retirement village operators were again hit, Ryman Healthcare falling 29c or 2.18 per cent to $13.01, Summerset Group Holdings down 10c to $12.65, and Oceania Healthcare declining 2c to $1.41.
Other decliners were apple exporter Scales Corporation, down 9c or 1.9 per cent to $4.65; and NZ Automotive Investments, owner of 2 Cheap Cars, falling 6c or 5.26 per cent to $1.08.
Manuka honey supplier Comvita rose 9c or 2.81 per cent to $3.29 after telling the market that its testing laboratory at Paengaroa has obtained dual certification under the International Accreditation New Zealand programme and being recognised by Ministry for Primary Industries.
Me Today's $36m purchase of King Honey – the deal raised a few eyebrows since Me Today has only $1.14m revenue – is going ahead, and its share price fell 0.003c or 3.16 per cent to 9.2c. Me Today told the market it has firm commitments for $10m of new shares at 8.8c a share and it will make a retail offer to raise another $5.75m.
Goodson said the people behind Me Today have a track record (for acquisitions) and they are choosing to back the deal because they see value in it.
Transportation technology firm EROAD has negotiated a partnership with Phillips Connect, which will provide devices, sensors and dashboards to EROAD's customers for advanced trailer and asset monitoring. Its share price edged ahead 1c to $5.58.
NZOG slipped 3c or 6.67 per cent to 42c after earlier announcing an investment in three gas producing fields off the Northern Territory coast. The move would increase the NZOG's proved and probable reserves by 14.5m barrels of oil equivalent – a near five-fold increase, with further exploration upside potential.