New Zealand shares gained, led by Meridian Energy and Port of Tauranga, as investors waited for the final election count and subsequent coalition talks, while dairy stocks Synlait Milk and A2 Milk gave up gains.
The S&P/NZX 50 Index rose 2.64 points, or 0.03 per cent, to 7977.34. Within the index, 25 stocks rose, 20 fell and five were unchanged. Turnover was $155.6 million.
"It's a quiet day leading into the update on the special votes. That's probably related -- people are waiting to see what happens over the weekend and in negotiations through to October 12," said James Lindsay, senior portfolio manager at Nikko Asset Management. "If there is a marked move to one side or the other, you would see currency movements first."
Meridian Energy led the index, up 2.5 per cent to $2.89, while Port of Tauranga gained 2.1 per cent to $4.39 and Sanford rose 1.9 per cent to $8.
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Synlait Milk was the worst performer, down 2.6 per cent to $6.72, and A2 Milk dropped 1.4 per cent to $7.16, both falling from record highs. The two stocks have gained since Thursday last week on confirmation that their brands and recipes have gained registration in China, removing an obstacle in a market with soaring sales, before both gave up gains this Thursday. They have had strong years so far, rising 122 per cent and 241 per cent respectively.
"After a particularly strong period for Synlait and A2, they've obviously given back a little bit of their gains, and A2 continues to trade on pretty solid volumes," Linsday said. "The strength earlier in the week was partly to do with one of the Aussie brokers upgrading A2. A Goldmans analyst upgraded it to 'buy'and put a $7.90 price target on it. There has obviously been very good demand for Synlait itself, and it's not too long since it received Chinese accreditation, which helps Synlait too, but that certainly assisted this week."
Fonterra Shareholders Fund units declined 2.2 per cent, or 14c, to $6.10 after shedding rights to a 20c per share final dividend. Polish Dairy, the European Union's fifth largest milk producer, will join Fonterra's Global Dairy Trade platform from November 21.
CBL Corp fell 1.6 per cent to $3.09 and New Zealand Refining dropped 1.6 per cent to $2.51.
Spark New Zealand dipped 0.3 per cent to $3.63. The country's second-biggest mobile carrier has kicked off its response to the Commerce Commission's probe into the mobile market, urging the regulator to keep it narrow and brief to avoid regulatory uncertainty for investors.
Outside the benchmark index, Hallenstein Glasson Holdings rose 0.3 per cent to $3.35. Glassons, the women's wear brand owned by Hallenstein Glasson, has split its chief executive role in two after the departure of Di Humphries, with separate NZ and Australian heads as it seeks to grow across the Tasman.