Up one day, down the next. The volatility continues in these unsettled times and the New Zealand sharemarket shed nearly 1 per cent.
But the defensive nature of the market, with its dividend-paying utility and property stocks, meant it held up better than those overseas, with bigger overnight falls in Europe and the United States.
The S&P/NZX 50 Index was down 109.17 points or 0.9 per cent to 12,088.75 and as the incredible scenes at the Wellington protest unfolded the index had a late fall after reaching an intraday high of 12,199.33.
There were 51 gainers and 96 decliners over the whole market on 39.19 million share transactions worth $169.39 million. Many of the leading stocks lost the gains they picked up the day before.
Mark Lister, head of private wealth research with Craigs Investment Partners, said it feels like the market is beholden to what happens to Russia and Ukraine, and the volatility will continue for a little while longer. It has plenty to worry about.
"Sitting in the background is the inflation problem and the need for the central banks to deal with it. I'd say our market is doing as well as it can in the scheme of things," said Lister.
After a solid reporting season, the NZX index finished February with a small gain of 0.7 per cent, while the United States markets were down 3.1 per cent and Europe down 4.1 per cent.
Overnight the Dow Jones Industrial Average declined nearly 600 points or 1.76 per cent to 33,294.95; S&P 500 decreased 1.55 per cent to 4306.26; and Nasdaq Composite was down 1.59 per cent to 13,532.46. The Nasdaq has fallen more than 13 per cent so far this year.
Fisher and Paykel Healthcare was down 30c to $27.77; EBOS Group declined 63c to $39.15; Auckland International Airport gave up 25c or 3.4 per cent to $7.10; Fletcher Building decreased 18c or 2.65 per cent to $6.61; Ryman Healthcare fell 48c or 4.79 per cent to $9.55; and Summerset Group Holdings shed 19c to $12.06.
Contact Energy declined 10c to $8.25; Argosy Property was down 4c or 2.84 per cent to $1.37; Fonterra Shareholders' Fund fell 14c or 4.06 per cent to $3.13; and My Food Bag shed 3c or 3.03 per cent to 96c – nearly a half of its listing price of $1.85.
SkyCity Entertainment was down 5c to $2.95; a2 Milk shed 11c or 1.82 per cent to $5.92; Scales Corporation declined 15c or 3 per cent to $4.85; Vector decreased 8c or 2.06 per cent to $3.80; and DGL Group fell 8c or 2.68 per cent to $2.90.
Mainfreight increased 78c to $81.80; Mercury Energy was up 8c to $5.84; Stride Property rose 4c or 2.04 per cent to $2; and Sky Network Television gained 7c or 2.02 per cent to $2.77.
Other gainers were Pushpay Holdings up 2c or 2.02 per cent to $1.01; Michael Hill International increasing 4c or 2.82 per cent to $1.46; Foley Wines climbing 8c or 5.63 per cent to $1.50; and Ventia Services Group collecting 6c or 2.4 per cent to $2.56.
Third Age Health Services rose 10c or 3.77 per cent to $2.75. Third Age recently told the market it is buying Ponsonby Medical Centre in Auckland.
NZME, winning the Most Improved Performance category at the Deloitte Top 200 Awards, increased 4c or 2.82 per cent to $1.46.
Booster Innovation Fund gained 0.002c to $1.21, with 10 trades worth $216,414, on its first day as a listed stock. The fund will invest in early-stage companies specialising in biotechnology, engineering, medical and materials science.
Utilities software firm Gentrack increased 5c or 3.13 per cent to $1.65 after recently telling the market that full-year group revenue is estimated at $115m, up from the 2021 total of $105.7m.
New Zealand Oil & Gas was up 1.5c or 2.91 per cent to 53c. Last week NZOG reported an improved six months ending December, turning around a loss of $42.3m in the previous corresponding period to a net profit of $15.7m on revenue of $33m, up 106 per cent.
Rakon was unchanged at $1.79 after telling the market that director Lorraine Witten will become the new chairwoman on April 1, replacing Bruce Irvine who is retiring.
Insurer Tower declined 1c to 69.5c after receiving High Court approval to return $30.4m to shareholders by cancelling one of every 10 shares they hold at a price of 72c a share.
Kathmandu Holdings is changing its name to KMD Brands from March 16 and its share price was down 3c or 2.24 per cent $1.31.
Cannasouth was down 0.005c or 1.82 per cent to 27c after reporting a loss of $1.61m on revenue of $1.3m for the year ending December. Cannasouth has been granted a commercial cannabis cultivation licence and last year raised $4.7m.