New Zealand shares rose as companies including Spark New Zealand and SkyCity Entertainment Group joined a rally across Asia, while earnings that met expectations from Fisher & Paykel Healthcare and Kiwi Property Group failed to inspire investors.
The S&P/NZX 50 Index rose 17.39 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 7409.5. Within the index, 17 rose, 11 were unchanged and 22 fell. Turnover was a relatively quiet $101 million.
The local bourse took its lead from Asia with Japan's Topix up 0.4 per cent in afternoon trading while Hong Kong's Hang Seng notched up a 1 per cent gain. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 index was up 0.8 per cent, as three of the four large banks attracted some bargain hunting by investors and as resource companies got a lift from improving commodity prices.
Spark led New Zealand's benchmark index high, rising 2.9 per cent to $3.735, while SkyCity gained 2.1 per cent to $4.43. Network operator Chorus gained 1.8 per cent to $4.43, while Auckland International Airport increased 1.2 per cent to $6.94. Metro Performance Glass rose 1.5 per cent to $1.35 ahead of its scheduled earnings on Thursday.
Hamilton Hindin Green Broker Grant Williamson there was some buying interest in a few large caps, such as the telcos, however, it had been a "slow start to the week and investors are really waiting for a further catalyst".
Earnings season continued with F&P Healthcare, which fell 0.7 per cent to $10.10, after the company posted an 18 per cent gain in full-year profit, meeting its guidance amid record annual sales, and said sales in the current year may reach $1 billion.
Williamson said the stock price failed to jump up because investors had already factored in earnings: "Investors had been expecting a very good result," he said, noting that the stock is up 19 per cent so far this year. "It's been one of the stand-out performers."
Kiwi Property Group declined 0.4 per cent to $1.42 after posting a 43 per cent fall in annual profit as the value of its property portfolio rose at a slower pace than a year earlier. That result was also largely expected, with underlying earnings up 13 per cent and the company said it will pay a full-year dividend of 6.75 cents per share, in line with guidance. It projects that will increase to 6.85 cents per share in the 2018 financial year.
Among other companies reporting, Evolve Education Group dropped 1.9 per cent to $1.03 after it posted a 1.5 per cent gain in full-year profit as revenues continued to rise with the childcare operator's expanding portfolio of early childhood education centres.
Comvita was again the biggest decliner on the top 50 index, falling 4.8 per cent to $5.62 and taking its slide to 34 per cent since early April. Ongoing news reports about the spread of the fungal disease Myrtle Rust continue to worry investors. Australia and New Zealand Banking Group shed 1.2 per cent to $3.28 but Westpac Banking Corp added 0.3 per cent to $33.33.