The New Zealand sharemarket lacked some direction and tumbled nearly half a per cent on another quiet day’s trading, while Wall Street continued to rally.
The S&P/NZX 50 Index slipped at the opening, recovered at lunchtime and then fell back again to close at 11,160.64, down 46.82 points or 0.42 per cent. The index traded in a range of 11,11,145.99 and 11,213.07 points.
There were 73 gainers and 62 decliners over the whole market on volumes of 27.57 million share transactions worth $113.19 million.
On the economic front, New Zealand’s trade deficit narrowed to $1.7 billion last month, with exports falling to $5.4b and imports down to $7.1b.
Jeremy Sullivan, investment advisor with Hamilton Hindin Greene, said imports were costing more than exports and the trade deficit was a little larger than the market expected. This could lead to an increase in the NZ dollar.
“Amongst the exports, infant milk formula sales were up 17 per cent and that’s encouraging for the likes of a2 Milk,” Sullivan said.
The NZ dollar strengthened to US60.7c against the American greenback at 6pm NZ time.
In the United States amongst the turmoil of OpenAI chief executive Sam Altman being fired and then joining Microsoft, the markets made further gains.
The S&P 500 Index exited correction territory after increasing 0.74 per cent to 4547.38 points. Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.589 per cent to 35,151.04 points and Nasdaq Composite rose 1.13 per cent to 14,284.53.
Microsoft reached an all-time high with a gain of 2.05 per cent to US$377.44 (NZ$621.63) after telling the market Altman will lead its new advanced AI research team.
At home, it was all quiet on the Ebos front with the company asking for another trading halt extension.
Market leaders Meridian Energy and Fisher and Paykel Healthcare were down 8c to $5.01 and 14c to $22.09 respectively.
Ryman Healthcare, which reports next week, declined 18c or 3.16 per cent to $5.58; a2 Milk was down 11c or 2.47 per cent to $4.35; Port of Tauranga decreased 10c or 1.89 per cent to $5.20; SkyCity shed 4c or 2.3 per cent to $2.30; and Sky TV was down 5c or 1.81 per cent to $2.72.
Other decliners were NZME shedding 3c or 3.33 per cent to 87c; NZX decreasing 2c or 1.87 per cent to $1.05; and Smartpay down 5c or 3.23 per cent to $1.50.
Freightways was up 10c to $7.91; Mainfreight gained 69c to $65.19; Vulcan Steel increased 21c or 2.76 per cent to $7.82; Sanford added 7c or 1.83 per cent to $3.89; and Colonial Motor Company collected 21c or 2.31 per cent to $9.30.
Seeka was up 15c or 6.12 per cent to $2.60; Millennium & Copthorne Hotels NZ gained 5c or 2.7 per cent to $1.90; and ikeGPS added 2c or 3.77 per cent to 55c.
Retailers Hallenstein Glasson rebounded 16c or 2.78 per cent to $5.91, and KMD Brands gained 2c or 2.53 per cent to 81c.
Turners Automotive, up 2c to $4.25, and Gentrack, down 2c to $5.32, are tipped to enter the NZX top 50 following the December quarterly index review. Synlait, down 2c to $1.29, and Pacific Edge, up 0.005c or 4.81 per cent to 10.9c, are expected to drop out.
AFT Pharmaceuticals, up 3c to $3.39, told the market its first aid antiseptic cream Crystaderm has been approved for sale in China.
New Zealand King Salmon Investments increased 1.2c or 6.06 per cent to 21c after announcing an exclusive distribution agreement with China Resources Food Supply Chain (CRFSC) which must place monthly salmon orders of a minimum 4000kg.
CRFSC has already sold 60,000kg of salmon products into mainland China since May. On an annualised basis this would represent 2.5 per of NZ King’s volume of products sold.
Telecommunications company Vital rose 4c or 17.39 per cent to 27c after telling shareholders at the annual that it is looking to maintain turnaround momentum.