New Zealand shares rose for a fourth day as exporters including Kathmandu Holdings and A2 Milk helped drive the market higher amid growing optimism over US-China trade talks.
The S&P/NZX 50 Index climbed 62.04 points, or 0.6 per cent, to 9,908.39. Within the index, 25 stocks rose, 18 fell and seven were unchanged. Turnover was $149 million.
A2 hit a record $16 and ended the day at $15.77, up 3.6 per cent on a volume of 1.5 million, more than its 90-day average of 858,000. The milk marketing firm was one of several exporters at the top of the leader board after positive reports about trade negotiations between the world's two biggest economies.
"The previous week was off a wee bit, but the buyers are certainly back in control this week," said Grant Williamson, a director at Hamilton Hindin Greene.
"The main influence from here is A2 - that's just for its weighting in the index."
Among other exporters on the benchmark index, Kathmandu Holdings rose 3.6 per cent to $2.33 on a smaller than usual volume of 84,000 shares. Fishing company Sanford increased 2.2 per cent to $6.85 on a larger volume than usual of 50,000 shares. Fisher & Paykel Healthcare advanced 1.4 per cent to $15.48 on 2 million shares, more than twice its 680,000 three-monthly average.
Fletcher Building rose 1.8 per cent to $5.05 on a volume of 453,000 shares, less than half its average. The government is seeking feedback on plans for wide-ranging reforms in the construction sector, spanning the regulation of building products and methods of construction, occupational regulation, how risk and liability are managed, the building levy, and penalties for breaking the law.
Williamson said the wider building sector has had to contend with ongoing issues for many years. There has to be a better way of tendering than the current process, which has seen a number of companies fail and triggered Fletcher's withdrawal from vertical construction.
"The way they've structured a number of contracts at a fixed price is absolutely ridiculous," he said of the wider sector.
Sky Network Television led the market higher, up 4 per cent at $1.30 on a volume of just 196,000 shares, less than a fifth of its three-monthly average.
Contact Energy was the most traded stock on a volume of 2.3 million shares, compared to its usual 1.6 million. It increased by 0.2 per cent to $6.74.
Auckland International Airport slipped 0.3 per cent to $7.97 on a volume of 1.8 million shares. The airport today reported flat international passenger movements in February and a small increase in domestic passenger numbers.
Of companies trading on volumes of more than a million shares, Kiwi Property Group rose 1.3 per cent to $1.51, Meridian Energy fell 1 per cent to $4.04, Goodman Property Trust increased 0.6 per cent to $1.73 and Genesis Energy dropped 1.9 per cent to $3.10. Spark New Zealand rose 1 per cent to $3.65 on a volume of 1.2 million shares, well down on its 5.9 million average.
Restaurant Brands New Zealand dropped 5 per cent to $8.65 after the fast-food operator controlled by Finaccess Capital fell short of annual earnings guidance and decided against paying a final dividend. It will retain its earnings for what it says it a record capital spending programme.
New Zealand Refining fell 2.8 per cent to $2.05 on a volume of 441,000 shares, twice its 90-day average. Summerset Group declined 2.4 per cent to $5.68.
Trade Me was unchanged at $6.44 on a volume of 990,000 shares. The online auction site's $6.45-a-share takeover by Apax Partners was approved by the High Court, with investors expected to be paid on May 8. Trading in its shares will be suspended at the close of May 2.
Outside the benchmark index, Eroad rose 3.9 per cent to $2.70 after reporting faster US sales growth in the March quarter.