New Zealand shares recovered some of yesterday's sell-off as investors digested the impact of the Reserve Bank's announcement yesterday of an unchanged 1 per cent cash rate on high-yield stocks.
The S&P/NZX 50 Index increased 63.82 points, or 0.6 per cent, to 10,899.25. Within the index, 26 stocks rose, 16 fell and seven were unchanged. Turnover was $149.5 million.
Utilities and property stocks dropped sharply yesterday when the Reserve Bank kept the official cash rate at 1 per cent, surprising many analysts and investors who had predicted it would cut the key rate to 0.75 per cent.
Greg Smith, head of research at Fat Prophets, said yesterday's reaction was probably overdone as bond yields had already started to rise and a number of central banks around the world had pared back easing biases.
"Whether the cash rate is at 1 per cent of three-quarters of a percent hasn't changed a lot in terms of the appeal of high yielding stocks that we're blessed with a lot of," he said.
Mainfreight led the market higher, up 3.1 per cent at $41.75 on a volume of 55,000 shares. It yesterday reported first-half earnings growth, due largely to its European and American businesses. Jarden analysts said it was below their expectations, while noting it was still a solid result. The research house kept its rating for Mainfreight at 'underperform' and lifted its target price to $31.60 from $30.10.
Port of Tauranga was up 2.8 per cent at $6.63. This week the government said it was considering a recommendation to shift Ports of Auckland's operations to NorthPort from the upper North Island supply chain study working group. The Tauranga operator owns half of NorthPort, with the balance held by Marsden Maritime Holdings, which increased 0.6 per cent to $6.89.
A2 Milk rose 1.4 per cent to $12.77 after the milk marketing firm sold out of its available stock during the world's biggest online shopping event.
Smith said the company had been under pressure in recent weeks and was one of the most shorted stocks in Australia. A short position is when an investor predicts an asset price will fall.
"They've been on the back foot but they're well positioned in China even if a bit of competition does look to be coming up," he said.
Synlait Milk, which supplies A2, increased 0.5 per cent to $9.23, while Fonterra Shareholders' Fund units dipped 0.5 per cent to $3.98.
Goodman Property Trust increased 0.2 per cent to $2.075 after it reported a soaring first-half profit, largely on unrealised gains in the value of its portfolio. Cash earnings fell due in part to changes in the way it pays its management fee.
Summerset Group rose 0.8 per cent to $7.27 and Metlifecare was up 2.1 per cent at $5.25 after Real Estate Institute figures showed accelerating house price inflation across everywhere in the nation other than Auckland. Investors often link retirement village operators to the residential real estate market. Metlifecare is also buying shares on market to narrow the gap between its share price and net asset value. Ryman Healthcare slipped 0.9 per cent to $14.05.
Sanford posted the day's biggest decline, down 2.1 per cent at $7.10 on a volume of 31,000 shares. It reported flat annual earnings on a smaller volume, in part because the death of a crew member kept one of its deepwater vessels docked for three months.
Mercury NZ was the most traded stock on a volume of 2.9 million shares. It fell 0.1 per cent to $5.025. Fletcher Building rose 1.6 per cent to $5.25 with 2.6 million shares changing hands, Contact Energy fell 0.3 per cent to $6.93 on a volume of 2 million and Spark New Zealand rose 1.1 per cent to $4.42 with almost 2 million shares changing hands.
Of other stocks trading on volumes of more than a million shares, Kiwi Property Group increased 0.7 per cent to $1.55, Meridian Energy was up 1.6 per cent at $4.60, Air New Zealand was unchanged at $2.80, Precinct Properties New Zealand increased 0.9 per cent to $1.79, and Auckland International Airport was down 0.8 per cent at $8.945.
Outside the benchmark index, New Zealand Oil & Gas dropped 4.7 per cent to 61 cents after minority shareholders rejected a takeover bid by cornerstone investor, OG Oil & Gas. The local company pledged to review its strategy at today's special meeting.