Leading stock Meridian made a welcomed rebound and helped push the New Zealand sharemarket up more than a half per cent – just the second time this month the leading index has made a gain.
After a torrid fall from a high of $9.40 set on January 7, Meridian – the second biggest market cap stock - climbed 16c or 2.82 per cent to $5.83 on trade worth $21.3 million, after reaching an intraday high of $6.09.
The energy stocks were boosted by the lack of selling from the overseas clean energy exchange-traded funds as the United States market was closed overnight for the Presidents Day holiday.
The S&P/NZX 50 Index gained 100.16 points or 0.8 per cent to 12,610.72. There were 81 gainers and 60 decliners on increased volume of 57 million share transactions worth $212.32m.
Shane Solly, portfolio manager with Harbour Asset Management, said the market held up pretty well in the face of a chunky capital raising by Contact Energy – as some investors would have sold some positions in other stocks to satisfy the capital requirements of Contact.
He said the selling pressure was off Contact and Meridian with the US market closed, and Contact was taking a progressive and healthy approach to decarbonisation by building the new geothermal power station near Taupo.
"Also, the Covid cases are not going up locally and they are coming down overseas, so the travel and tourism stocks penalised by the lack of mobility during the pandemic are having a better day. The latest solid housing statistics provide ongoing tailwinds for the retirement village stocks as prospective residents have the ability to sell their properties," said Solly.
Contact resumed trading and lost 15c or 2.08 per cent to $7.05 on trade worth $30.29m after successfully completing a $325m institutional capital raising at $7 a share. Contact is now making a $75m retail offer, with application forms being sent to eligible New Zealand and Australian shareholders on February 18.
Mercury Energy rose 20c or 3.11 per cent to $6.63; Trustpower was up 25c or 2.99 per cent to $8.60; and Vector increased 5c to $4.18. Tilt Renewables was down 10c to $6.30, and Genesis slipped 4c to $3.66.
Auckland International Airport climbed 21c or 3.09 per cent to $7; Air New Zealand increased 4c or 2.56 per cent to $1.60; and Serko gained 14c or 2.61 per cent to $5.51.
Retirement village operators Ryman Health surged 62c or 4.19 per cent to $15.42, and Summerset Group Holdings increased 17c to $12.93.
The retailers also recovered from the shock of new community cases in Auckland. The Warehouse Group increased 8c or 2.49 per cent to $3.29; Briscoe Group was up 3c to $5.65; and Kathmandu picked up 4c or 3.08 per cent to $1.34.
Market leader Fisher and Paykel Healthcare increased 16c to $32.40, and a2 Milk was up 22c or 2.09 per cent to $10.77. The port companies had a strong day with Marsden Maritime Holdings rising 11c or 1.72 per cent to $6.49; South Port New Zealand gaining 18c or 2.1 per cent to $8.76; and Port of Tauranga increasing 8c to $7.30.
Delegat Group's managing director John Freeman is leaving his job in late March and moving to Australia, and Delegat's share price rose 20c to $14.20.
New listing Third Age Health Services, which provides aged residential care, surged 23c or 10.36 per cent to $2.45. Evolve Education was another big mover, rising 11c or 9.02 per cent to $1.33.
Manuka honey producer Comvita announced a partnership with London-listed digital business THG, which will market its brands direct to consumers. Comvita's share price fell 3c to $3.16.
Infratil was up 4c to $7.52 after presenting its annual Investor Day. Solly said Infratil reinforced the longer-term potential of their assets and business, and it will be interesting to see how takeover bidder AustralianSuper reacts to that.
Infratil told investors that Wellington International Airport will have a slight increase in profit through domestic traffic, and Solly said this may also impact on Auckland International Airport, which reports on Thursday.