On Auckland's freedom day under the Covid-19 Protection Framework, the New Zealand sharemarket is also taking a green light, red light approach – with under-pressure Ryman Healthcare making a recovery.
After being on the red light with two significant falls this week, the S&P/NZX 50 changed to the green light with steady trading. The index was up 6.25 points or 0.05 per cent to 12,676.5, after reaching an intraday high of 12,759.07 and low of 12,647.74.
The index finished a volatile week ahead by 0.39 per cent. There were 89 gainers and 47 decliners across the whole market on volume of 37.9 million share transactions worth $161.39 million.
Shane Solly, portfolio manager with Harbour Asset Management, said markets have been on again, off again lately because of the uncertainty over the impact of the new omicron Covid variant.
"Each day we are seeing more Omicron cases but hospitalisation rates haven't increased. The variant will continue to be a focus and investors can't be complacent. But if it doesn't cause any more seriousness, then the market could have a good run into Christmas," Solly said.
"The United States markets had a solid bounce with re-opening stocks (hotels and travel) rebounding, and this flowed through here."
The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) decided to press ahead with increasing production by 400,000 barrels in January, and the crude oil price dropped to US$67.25, down from a three-year high of US$86 in early October.
Solly said some of the prices, such as the oil price, that have caused rising inflation are now toning down a little.
Ryman Healthcare increased 20c to $12.21 on trade worth $20.77m. Fellow retirement village operators Summerset Group Holdings was up 15c to $13.10, and Oceania Healthcare declined 2.9c or 2.18 per cent to $1.30 after going ex-dividend.
Solly said the Covid lockdowns in New Zealand and Australia reduced Ryman's ability to complete developments and sell new units, placing pressure on its balance sheet, and the re-opening in Auckland will bring a sigh of relief.
Market leader Fisher and Paykel Healthcare was down 40c to $32.18; Auckland International Airport declined 5c to $7.82; and Restaurant Brands fell 60c or 3.87 per cent to $14.90.
Other leading stocks Mainfreight increased 70c to $90.15; Infratil gained 12.5c to $8.19; and Chorus was up 4c to $6.77.
Among the energy stocks, Contact was up 9c to $7.93; Meridian increased 4c to $4.76; Genesis rose 7.5c or 2.5 per cent to $3.08; and Mercury was down 11c or 1.8 per cent to $6.
Property stocks were positive, with Argosy up 1.5c to $1.495; Investore gaining 2c to $1.88; Goodman Property Trust increasing 3c to $2.51; Vital Healthcare Property Trust collecting 2c to $2.88; and Kiwi Property up 1c to $1.15.
Property for Industry expects a portfolio revaluation gain of $150m for the six months ending December, following a $240m gain for the first half ending June. This makes an annual increase of $390m or 22 per cent, with the portfolio of 97 properties valued at $2.164 billion.
The company has bought a 5000sq m industrial site in Penrose for $6.825m, and its share price was unchanged at $2.77.
Marsden Maritime Holdings increased 11c to $6.43; Napier Port collected 4.7c to $3.14; Heartland Group Holdings rose 6c or 2.68 per cent to $2.30; Vulcan Steel gained 12c to $8.38; Turners Automotive picked up 7c to $4.44; and Rakon was up 3c to $1.78.
Fonterra Shareholders' Fund was down 5c to $3.55 after the dairy cooperative said it was lifting the farmgate milk price forecast to a mid-point of $8.70 per kgMS. The pay-out would contribute $13.2 billion to the New Zealand economy, but increase costs for supplies. The a2 Milk Company was down 14c or 2.37 per cent to $5.76.
Among the decliners, Gentrack was down 4c or 2.22 per cent to $1.76; and Solutions Dynamic fell 8c or 2.76 per cent to $2.82.
Me Today was down 0.002c or 3.03 per cent to 6.4c. The retailer of wellness products recently told the market it has arranged for majority shareholders MTL Securities and Jarvis Trust to invest an additional $6m through a share placement at 8.8c a share.
Me Today is expecting less sales from King Honey in the present financial year because of higher-than-expected inventory stocks in China. The group's half year net sales were $2.4m and net loss was $2.77m.