New Zealand share trading climbed 66 per cent in February, a month encompassing heightened global volatility as international investors questioned the future track of US interest rates and a domestic earnings season that included major surprises from a2 Milk Co and Fletcher Building.
Total equity trades on the NZX rose 66 per cent to 227,153 in February from the same month a year earlier and were up from 212,909 in January, the stock exchange operator's monthly shareholder metrics show.
Total value traded increased 12 per cent to $3.2 billion for an equivalent increase in the daily average traded value to $167 million. In the year to date, the number of trades rose 78 per cent to 442,155 for a 17 per cent gain in value to $5.9b.
The bulk of that was in equity transactions, with share trading up 67 per cent to 224,827 for a 13 per cent increase in value traded to $3.1b, while debt trading fell 21 per cent to 2,326 for an 8.3 per cent decline in value traded to $112m.
Global equity markets started February on the backfoot as Wall Street's fear gauge - the Chicago Options Board Exchange's volatility index - spiked to a two-year high as yields on 10-year bonds crept higher, undermining the appeal of stocks.
Those ructions were felt around the world and New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index fell as much as 4.5 per cent before calm returned to stockmarkets and it recovered most of those losses during a domestic earnings season that provided mixed results.
The local reporting period was encapsulated by the contrast between a2's jump in profit and new Fonterra Cooperative Group supply deal, with the extent of Fletcher's losses from its Buildings + Interiors unit.
The NZX 50 ended February at 8,374, up 17 per cent from a year earlier, while the market capitalisation of NZX's equities rose 8.9 per cent to $129.2b, or 46.4 per cent of gross domestic product. The debt market's value increased 0.9 per cent to $26.5b, or 9.5 per cent of GDP.
The number of listed securities fell 3.3 per cent in February to 294 from the same month a year earlier, with stocks on the main board down 5.5 per cent to 156, NZAX listings falling 11 per cent to 16, NXT issuers unchanged at 4 and NZDX issuers up 4.7 per cent at 45.
Some $151m of capital was raised in February across nine events, of which $121m was debt, $27m of equity by dual and secondary issuers, and $3m of equity by primary issuers.
Derivatives trading was mixed in the period, with a 15 per cent decrease in futures lots to 17,432 and a 22 per cent increase in options traded to 2,850. Open interest shrank 15 per cent to 41,531.
NZX's funds management division continued to expand, with total SuperLife funds under management up 18 per cent to $2.02b and total Smartshares funds up 26 per cent to $2.24b. Funds under administration in NZX's wealth technology shrank 11 per cent to $1.15b.
New Zealand agri data subscriptions rose 46 per cent to 3,634 while Australian data products increased 0.6 per cent to 1,513. Paid ad page equivalents at the Farmers Weekly publication, which NZX has sold, shrank 6.3 per cent to 105, while year-to-date ad page equivalents were up 3.2 per cent to 191.
NZX shares last traded at $1.07 and have declined 4.5 per cent so far this year.