New Zealand shares edged up to a new record, led by stock market operator NZX and as investors changed their tune on a2 Milk Co late in the day. Air New Zealand fell on disappointing monthly metrics.
The S&P/NZX 50 index increased 3.77 points, or 0.05 per cent, to 8,284.58. Within the index, 24 stocks gained, 19 fell, and seven were unchanged. Turnover was $141 million.
"Our market has recovered late in the day - it's almost unchanged now but was down a reasonable amount," said Grant Williamson, a director at Hamilton Hindin Greene in Christchurch. "There's not a lot of guts to the market at the moment."
NZX led the benchmark index higher, rising 1.8 per cent to $1.12. The stock market operator has been criticised this year for not developing a pipeline of new initial public offerings, with just one this year, and has developed a strategy to refocus on its core market business.
Williamson said a lot of investors are looking ahead to next year, and if the Vodafone New Zealand IPO goes ahead in the first quarter it will be a shot in the arm for the exchange.
A2 Milk rose 0.3 per cent to $7.77, having traded as low as $7.48 during the day, which Williamson said helped the market's turnaround at the close.
Retirement village operator Arvida Group gained 1.6 per cent to $1.24 and power company Contact Energy advanced 1.5 per cent to $5.57. Real estate investors also gained, with Argosy Property rising 1.4 per cent to $1.08, Kiwi Property Group up 1.1 per cent to $1.385, and Property for Industry advancing 0.9 per cent to $1.635.
Air New Zealand posted the biggest fall on the day, down 3.5 per cent to $3.205 as investors took a dim view of the airline's latest operating stats. The figures showed passenger numbers rose in the month, largely due to domestic travel, while long-haul routes showed shrinking load factors, indicating declining capacity utilisation. Separately, Qantas Airways subsidiary Jetstar said it would restart its Wellington-to-Queenstown service next year.
"Investors obviously didn't think too much of the data that came out," Williamson said.
Xero, which leaves the NZX 50 at the end of the week ahead of delisting from the NZX, fell 1.3 per cent to $29.40.
Ebos Group fell 1.2 per cent after the animal and health products maker announced chief executive Patrick Davies is stepping down and will be replaced by chief financial officer John Cullity next March.
Heartland Bank slipped 1 per cent to $2.05 after it resumed trading. The bank raised $59m through a rights issue selling shares at $1.70 apiece, and yesterday's shortfall bookbuild set a price of $2.02.
Sanford fell 0.5 per cent to $8.25 after shareholders were reminded about the seafood group's plans to keep investing in innovation and branding at today's annual meeting.
New Zealand Refining decreased 0.4 per cent to $2.49 after the government said it will hold an independent inquiry into the pipeline between the Marsden Point refinery and Auckland. Z Energy, a customer of the refinery, fell 1.3 per cent to $7.80.
Outside the benchmark index, Hallenstein Glasson Holdings climbed 5.5 per cent to $3.62 after saying first-half profit could rise by as much as 50 per cent, depending on Christmas trading.
ERoad slipped 3.3 per cent to $3.19 after raising $15.5m in a placement to investors, selling shares at $3.04 apiece.
Fletcher Building rose 1.4 per cent to $7.50, Auckland International Airport gained 0.2 per cent to $6.695, Spark New Zealand increased 0.3 per cent to $3.68, Meridian Energy fell 1.2 per cent to $2.935, and Fisher & Paykel Healthcare decreased 0.4 per cent to $13.54.