New Zealand shares rose with blue-chips including Auckland International Airport and Ebos Group hitting new highs as investors remain uncertain about whether US and Australian central banks will cut interest rates. Summerset group fell in unusually busy trading.
The S&P/NZX Index increased 11.56 points, or 0.1 per cent, to 10,235.37. Within the index, 20 stocks rose, 22 fell, and eight were unchanged. Turnover was $174.7 million, of which Summerset accounted for $54m.
Equity markets were mixed across Asia, as investors remained uncertain about the impact of the persistent trade dispute between the US and China, while at the same time weighing up the impact of expected interest rate cuts in the US and Australia.
"The focus is what's happening offshore, particularly in the US," said Craigs Investment Partners investment advisor Peter McIntyre.
The low interest rate environment has been a boon for local blue-chip stocks, utilities, and property firms due to the reliable dividends New Zealand firms often pay investors. Auckland International Airport rose 0.2 per cent to a record $9.02. Goodman Property Trust rose 1.3 per cent to $1.885 on a volume of 1.73 million units, Ryman Healthcare increased 1.2 per cent to $11.65, and Genesis Energy increased 1.1 per cent to $3.17.
Ebos Group hit a record $23.50, closing at $23, down 0.8 per cent and Mainfreight hit a record $42.50, closing at $39.71, down 0.2 per cent.
Pushpay Holdings led the market higher, up 2.1 per cent at $3.90 on 436,200 shares.
Summerset fell 1.3 per cent to $5.52 on a volume of almost 10.2 million shares, the bulk of which was in a single trade.
"That's big for Summerset," McIntyre said. "There are some institutional investors in there buying and selling the stock with that kind of volume."
That weighed on other retirement village stocks, which have fallen out of favour among investors who often tie the companies' fortunes with the residential property market. Oceania Healthcare fell 1 per cent to $1.04, Metlifecare declined 0.7 per cent to $4.34, and Arvida Group was down 0.8 per cent at $1.32.
McIntyre said he wasn't convinced the slowing Auckland housing market will weigh as heavily on the sector.
"When someone's got to go to a retirement village, they're going to go to a retirement village."
Kathmandu Holdings posted the biggest decline, down 4.1 per cent at $2.09 on almost 115,000 shares. The retailer has declined 5 per cent this week, having shed rights to its 4 cent dividend on June 4.
Contact Energy increased 0.5 per cent to $7.59 after announcing a new gas deal with OMV, which it said will secure its supply through winter.
Spark New Zealand was unchanged at $3.875 on 4.7 million shares, down on its 90-day average of 5.4 million. Of other stocks trading on volumes of more than a million shares, Kiwi Property Group fell 0.3 per cent to $1.57, Fletcher Building rose 0.6 per cent to $5.43, Meridian Energy was up 0.1 per cent at $4.485, Precinct Properties New Zealand advanced 0.6 per cent to $1.685 and Z Energy increased 0.2 per cent to $6.05.
Chorus declined 1.7 per cent to $5.86 after government figures showed ultrafast broadband uptake hit 51.7 per cent across the country in the March quarter, with Nelson, Hamilton and Tauranga among the highest penetration rates.
Infratil rose 0.9 per cent to $4.425 after completing the retail component of its $400m capital raising to help fund its share of its planned $3.4 billion Vodafone New Zealand acquisition with Brookfield Asset Management.
New Zealand Refining's 2034 notes paying annual interest of 5.1 per cent were the most traded debt security on a volume of 303,000. They closed at a yield of 4.05 per cent, down 5 basis points. Refining NZ shares rose 1 per cent to $2.10.