Market leader Fisher and Paykel Healthcare must be feeling like Humpty Dumpty. It has a fall, picks itself up again, only to have another great fall. Whether it stays on top of the wall or not, Fisher and Paykel nonetheless steers the direction of the market – this time downwards.
Fisher and Paykel, which went ex-dividend, fell nearly 3.5 per cent and the S&P/NZX 50 Index was down 79.78 points or 0.63 per cent to 12,648.91. There were 87 gainers and 55 decliners over the whole market on a volume of 59.44 million share transactions worth $221.19 million.
Fisher and Paykel, still 66 per cent ahead for the past year, shed $1.15 or 3.31 per cent to $33.64 on trade worth $20.36m, having risen $1.97 to $35.92 on Monday and then taken three successive days of falls.
With another big index influencer a2 Milk decreasing 32c or 2.28 per cent to $13.70 on trade worth $14.38m, the market's fall could have been worse.
But Mercury Energy came to the rescue, climbing 26c or 4.23 per cent to $6.41 on trade worth $10.8m after lagging behind fellow energy stocks Contact and Meridian over the past few days. Contact slipped 1c to $7.91, and Meridian gained 6c to $6.59.
There are plenty of economic and vaccine developments to keep the market bubbling along. A US$900 billion ($1.2 trillion) United States stimulus package is expected to be announced within days; the Chinese recovery continues with the Caixin Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index rising in October; and the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine will be rolled out in the UK next week, earlier than expected.
Australia is emerging from recession after posting a 3.3 per cent increase in the September quarter gross domestic product. Household consumption jumped 7.9 per cent for the largest quarterly GDP increase since 1976. The S&P/ASX 200 Index was up 0.48 per cent to 6621.90 at 5.45 pm (NZ time).
Shane Solly, portfolio manager for Harbour Asset Management, said it's been quite a volatile week. "The market has been flat and volumes are moderate, but underneath the surface there is a lot going on. We are taking two steps forward and one back at the moment.
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"With the vaccine roll-out, you are again seeing a rotation from the Covid winners such as Fisher and Paykel to the stocks that will benefit from the re-opening of borders like Air New Zealand, SkyCity and Serko," he said.
Software firm Serko told the market that booking volumes, following the easing of travel restrictions within Australia, have gradually improved, reaching 44 per cent of November last year and up from 35 per cent in October. Serko's share price increased 9c to $5.52.
SkyCity was up 9c or 2.89 per cent to $3.20; Air New Zealand rose 1.5c to $1.875; Freightways advanced 15c to $9.50; Chorus climbed 10.5c to $8.165; and Heartland Group Holdings gained 5c or 3.27 per cent to $1.58.
Mainfreight was down 58c to $60.50; Pushpay Holdings fell 6c or 3.17 per cent to $1.83; Seeka lost 8c or 1.96 per cent to $4; Comvita shed 6c to $3.32; Z Energy decreased 5c to $3.12; and Goodman Property Trust declined 4c to $2.38.
The increasing interest in the sharemarket was shown by the latest monthly statistics from the NZX. The total value traded in November was $4.63b compared with $4.16b in October, and these two months were up 12.3 per cent and 31.2 per cent on the same period last year.
The on-market value traded grew 28 per cent to $3b in November, representing nearly 65 per cent of the total market, and the daily average trades of 52,205 was up nearly 92 per cent on the same month last year. The daily average trades in October were 44,824. Total capital raisings in November were $784m and $14.51b for the year to date - up 14.4 per cent for the same time last year