New Zealand shares rose, joining a regional rally, as investors predict whether an upcoming MSCI index review will spur major activity next week. Fletcher Building, which could exit the index, gains, while new addition a2 Milk Co fell.
The S&P/NZX 50 index increased 6.65 points, or 0.1 per cent, to 8,594.59. Within the index, 29 stocks gained, 12 fell and nine were unchanged. Turnover was $132 million.
Investors are waiting to see the outcome of upcoming MSCI index changes after the rapid ascent of a2 Milk to claim the title as New Zealand's biggest listed company and the decline of long-standing bluechip stock Fletcher Building.
Brokers anticipate next week's reweighting will lead to a busier day than the previous review when about $1.1 billion of Contact Energy and Fisher & Paykel Healthcare shares changed hands. A2 fell 3.2 per cent to $12.75, the day's biggest decline, while Fletcher led the bourse higher, up 3.7 per cent to $6.53
"If a2 is included which is what most people predict, then we're talking probably the largest daily traded volume that's going to occur at the end of May than we've ever seen before," said Rickey Ward, NZ equity manager at JBWere in Auckland. "It'll be a day of significant volume if a2 goes in."
Next week, Fletcher will also hold the shortfall bookbuild for any shares not taken up by retail investors in a discounted share issue, and Ward said people are "preparing themselves to back into that bookbuild". The shortfall bookbuild for the institutional component of the capital raise priced Fletcher shares at $6.15 apiece.
Among other gainers, Scales Corp rose 1.9 per cent to $4.75, and Trade Me Group advanced 1.3 per cent to $4.80.
Port of Tauranga gained 1.2 per cent to $5.16 after a Westpac Banking Corp regional economy report said increased March quarter volumes going through the port underpinned upbeat economic confidence in the Bay of Plenty. Te Puke-based Comvita advanced 1.9 per cent to $7.10, and Tauranga-based Trustpower rose 0.5 per cent to $5.87.
Property For Industry rose 0.9 per cent to $1.67 after holding its annual meeting and declaring an increased first-quarter dividend of 1.8 cents per share.
Other stocks that fell included Air New Zealand, down 1.4 per cent to $3.285 as global oil prices gained. There was a 1.1 per cent decline in Kathmandu Holdings to $2.64, while Fisher & Paykel Healthcare slipped 0.7 per cent to $12.70.
Outside the benchmark index, Evolve Education was unchanged at 55 cents after notices showed Regal Funds Management increased its stake in the early childhood education provider to almost 17 per cent and Salt Funds Management boosted its holding to 11 per cent.
Metro Performance Glass fell 3.4 per cent to 85 cents after First NZ Capital downgraded its rating and target price on the glass products maker, citing the prospect of a slowing building cycle.
Dual-listed banks Australia & New Zealand Banking Group rose 1.2 per cent to $29.99 and Westpac Banking Corp gained 0.8 per cent to $31.90 after the sector fell out of favour as a Royal Commission across the Tasman raised questions about those lenders' business practices. AMP fell 0.5 per cent to $4.39 after three directors chose to step down from the financial services firm's board ahead of today's annual meeting in Melbourne.
New Zealand lender Heartland Bank was unchanged at $1.78.
Among the bluechip stocks, Auckland International Airport rose 1.1 per cent to $6.55, Meridian Energy gained 0.5 per cent to $2.965, and Spark New Zealand slipped 0.4 per cent to $3.515.