The New Zealand share market rallied on news government is expanding its business support package and as the US Federal Reserve announced it will take extreme measures to offset the global downturn.

The S&P/NZX50 rose 610.45 points, or 7.2 per cent, to 9,109.15. Within the index, 39 stocks rose, seven fell and four were unchanged. Turnover was $250 million.

Stocks climbed back from the previous session's slide as investors tried to find an equilibrium between opportunity and risk in unprecedented economic conditions, said Peter McIntyre, an investment adviser at Craigs Investment Partners.

Today, New Zealand banks were offered government guarantees on up to $6.25 billion in new lending to "solvent businesses" to help tide them over the economic hit caused by the covid-19 crisis. Meanwhile, the US Federal Reserve announced it will do whatever it takes to support markets, which McIntyre said helped calm markets.

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"If all else fails they've got one big printing press in the basement waiting to get going as well," he said.

McIntyre said the domestic package put in place this afternoon was never seen before in New Zealand economic history, and will make sure small businesses are still around after the crisis.

"It's a pretty sustained programme for small to medium business, which has given the market a bit of kicker," he said.

"Right now, there are only five stocks in the red. The rest are green and some of those are having intra-day gains never seen in their trading life."

Tourism Holdings led the market higher, jumping 32.7 per cent to 73 cents. McIntyre said investors are reminded the company's net asset value is "well beyond a dollar" after the chief executive reiterated they have more than $100m left in their banking covenant.

Ryman Healthcare climbed 23.8 per cent to $8.22. The retirement village operator today said it is withdrawing profit guidance and halting construction to comply with the lockdown order while continuing to operate its retirement villages as an essential service.

"On what would seem to be indifferent news, the share price has just gone bang," McIntyre said.

"Typically, that kind of bad news to the market would've sent Ryman to the downside, but I think some investors have taken that as good news: They are still operational and are open for new residents."

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Summerset Group rose 21.6 per cent to $4.51, Oceania Healthcare increased 17.5 per cent to 47 cents and Arvida Group rose 8.7 per cent to $1. Metlifecare fell 2.4 per cent to $4.15.

McIntyre said property stocks, which have been under pressure as investors worried tenants would default on rents, saw some relief today as the government package gave small businesses more breathing room.

Kiwi Property Group rose 12 per cent to 84 cents, Argosy Property increased 10.5 per cent to 84, Stride Property climbed 10.2 per cent to $1.30 and Precinct Properties was unchanged at $1.47.

The Warehouse Group was placed on a trading halt after it surged 34.8 per cent to $2.02 on the announcement it will be keeping 92 stores opening during the four-week self-isolation period, only to be shot down by the government saying it has not approved the retailer as an essential service.

Comvita announced today it will continue operating as food producers are considered essential businesses. The share price rose 5.4 per cent to $1.75.

Gentrack posted the day's biggest loss falling 10.6 per cent to 76 cents.

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