Investors had a reprieve as the New Zealand sharemarket posted its first gain in six trading days. After some mighty falls, the market paused to wait for the overnight moves from the United States Federal Reserve.
The S&P/NZX 50 Index rose steadily all day, and was up 57.44 points or 0.47 per cent at 12,185.65 on the close. The index has now fallen just over 6 per cent this year after hitting 6.54 per cent.
There were 71 gainers and 65 decliners across the whole market on volume of 32.25 million share transactions worth $119.29 million.
Shane Solly, portfolio manager with Harbour Asset Management, said there was a view that the Federal Reserve's monetary tightening might not be as aggressive as the market has baked in.
"If the tightening is at a slower pace, then that would be a positive for the markets. Five interest rate hikes this year are priced into the US market," he said.
"A lot of situations have been factored into the markets in a short period of time this year. Some of the speculative investments have been cleaned out, the markets have de-risked quickly and it's back to an environment of earnings going forward."
Solly said there were signs that people who were sitting on the sideline are now coming back into the local market.
Four of the market's most durable stocks made sound recoveries. EBOS Group rose 84c or 2.21 per cent to $38.85; Mainfreight gained 51c to $86.51; Fletcher Building was up 11c to $6.74; and Skellerup Holdings increased 6c to $5.82.
Auckland International Airport climbed 13c or 1.77 per cent to $7.47; Port of Tauranga gained 7c to $6.50; and Napier Port collected 5c to $2.91.
Cinema software firm Vista Group rebounded 7c or 3.45 per cent to $2.10; Sky Network Television increased 6c or 2.56 per cent to $2.39; and DGL Group gained 5c to $2.94.
Retailers Kathmandu Holdings was up 3c or 2.26 per cent to $1.36, and Briscoe Group picked 11c or 1.83 per cent to $6.11.
New listings TradeWindow increased 9c or 3.81 per cent to $2.45, and Ventia Services Group gained 7c or 2.98 per cent to $2.42.
Meridian Energy, up 5c to $4.56, told the market the suspension of Potline 4 at the Tiwai Point aluminium smelter has been extended to May 31. This allows Meridian to sell more electricity into the spot market where prices are firm.
Air New Zealand named two executive team members and its share price increased 1.5c to $1.42. Alexandria Marren, president of ABM Aviation in Atlanta, takes over from Carrie Hurihanganui as chief operating officer, and Mike Williams moves from group general manager commercial, alliances and strategy to chief transformation and alliances officer. Hurihanganui starts as the chief executive next month.
NZX rose 5c or 2.91 per cent to $1.77. NZX has appointed Anna Scott, chief operating officer of Hobson Wealth Partners and former global business manager for JPMorgan's currency trading division in London, to its technology committee.
There was no further news about a possible takeover of a2 Milk which fell 14c or 2.42 per cent to $5.65. Synlait was down 8c or 2.44 per cent to $3.20.
Solly said a2 Milk still faces a challenging earnings environment in the near future, and some investors closed out their short positions with no follow-up buying.
Specialised electronics maker Rakon continued its fall, down 10c or 5.56 per cent to $1.70, after reaching $2.20 on January 6.
Another new listing Winton Land fell 17c or 4.66 per cent to $3.48; Scott Technology was down 11c or 3.37 per cent to $3.15; T&G Global decreased 5c to $2.84; Move Logistics lost 4c or 2.52 per cent to $1.55; The Colonial Motor Company declined 20c or 1.81 per cent to $10.85; and Allied Farmers was down 4c or 4.6 per cent to 83c.
Vector was down 6c to $3.84. Earlier, Vector reported a 1.7 per cent increase in electricity connections and 1.9 per cent growth in gas connections for the six months ending December. Vector has installed 1.925m advanced meters in New Zealand and Australia, a rise of 7.9 per cent.
Fonterra Shareholders' Fund was up 1c to $3.58 a day after the co-operative lifted its forecast mid-point farmgate milk price by 50c to $9.20 per kg milk solids because of consistent demand at a time of constrained global milk supply. That pay-out would contribute $13.8b to the New Zealand economy.
Livestock Improvement Corporation reported a 5.4 per cent increase in revenue to $169.4m and 6.2 per cent rise in net profit to $35.6m for the six months ending November compared with the previous corresponding period. The full-year profit forecast is $22m-$26m compared with the previous $22.3m, and LIC's share price was unchanged at $1.30.