The New Zealand sharemarket had a late turnaround on a burst of trading as it moved back into positive territory – but investors have largely headed for the sideline awaiting new developments.
The S&P/NZX 50 Index closed 42.95 points or 0.33 per cent ahead to 12,881.31, recovering from a low of 12,757.45. Across the Tasman, the S&P/ASX 200 Index has risen 1.21 per cent to 6743.40 at 5.45pm (NZ time).
The NZ dollar has settled at US71.42c – after trading as low as US71.03c during the day - against the United States greenback, providing some respite for local exporters.
On the local market, there were 81 gainers and 61 decliners on improved volume of 74.65 million shares worth $247.52 million. The volume was heightened by heavy trading in the S&P/NZX 50 Exchange Traded Fund units, with 18m worth $50.18m transacted. Trading in market leaders Meridian and Fisher and Paykel Healthcare totalled $56.80m.
Jeremy Sullivan, investment adviser with Hindin Hamilton Greene, said investors were sitting on the sideline waiting for the big earnings announcements in the United States and New Zealand. They will make their decisions on what they see.
The energy stocks, going through a price revaluation, continued to drag on the market. Contact fell 29c or 3.16 per cent to $8.89, having fallen from $10.75 on January 8. Mercury declined 35c or 5.07 per cent to $6.65, after reaching $7.385 on January 8. Meridian was unchanged at $7.44, well down from its high of $9.40 struck on January 7. Genesis Energy was up 8c or 2.22 per cent to $3.68.
Two other market favourites had better days – Fisher and Paykel Healthcare rising 46c or 1.46 per cent to $31.88, and a2 Milk gaining 26c or 2.42 per cent to $11.01.
Ebos Group was also up 25c to $28.75; Mainfreight gained $1.29 or 1.98 per cent to $66.30; Freightways increased 7c to $1047; and Serko climbed 19c or 3.42 per cent to $5.74.
AdvertisementAdvertise with NZME.
The dual-listed banks are on the rise. ANZ Banking Group increase 64c or 2.45 per cent to NZ$26.77 and Westpac Banking Corporation moved 67c or 2.94 per cent to NZ$23.49. Another blue chip stock Port of Tauranga rose 19c or 2.54 per cent to $7.68.
Sullivan said the banks' debt has been reaffirmed at AAA, they have received analysts' upgrades and they are starting to pay dividends. They are not as worried about defaults as they were six or seven months ago.
Property stocks are also steadily rising. Kiwi Property was up 2.5c or 2.02 per cent to $1.26, and Precinct Properties also gained 2.5c to $1.70.
Auckland International Airport continued to fall, down 6.5c to $7.27, and Air New Zealand slipped 2.5c to $1.685. Restaurant Brands was down 21c or 1.81 per cent to $11.37 in another topsy-turvy day. Summerset Group Holdings lost 10c to $11.94.
Turners Automotive Group reached a new three-year high of $3.35, up 15c or 4.69 per cent, after increasing its full-year net profit forecast on a lift in business during November and December. Turners now expect the profit for the 2021 financial year to be in the range of $33m-$35m, after earlier predicting the upper end of $28m-$31m.
New lending volumes were tracking ahead of the previous year. Sullivan said Turners is operating well with vehicle sales ticking along nicely. The company has had a relatively quick turnaround because of the wealth effect – with house values going up, people don't mind getting out and buying new cars.
Other decliners were AFT Pharmaceuticals, falling 9c or 1.75 per cent to $5.06; Sanford, losing 6c to $4.90; and NZME down 5c or 6.58 per cent to 71c. Personal lender Harmoney continued its disappointing form since listing late last year, declining 16c or 5.42 per cent to $2.79.