New Zealand shares snapped a three-day decline as global oil prices stabilised and upbeat investment sentiment on Wall Street flowed through to the local market. Refining NZ bounced back from yesterday's sharp drop.
The S&P/NZX50 Index rose 28.44 points, or 0.3 per cent to 10,446.11. Within the index, 35 stocks increased, 11 fell, and four were unchanged. Turnover was $144.8 million.
Investor sentiment improved after a strong lead from Wall Street where investors were buoyed by news of a US$500 billion ($836.6b) stimulus package pushed the three benchmark indices at least 2 per cent higher. This was accentuated by Brent crude oil prices recovering from a 21-year low, levels which stoked concern about the global economy's outlook.
Sam Trethewey, a portfolio manager at Milford Asset Management, said the oil price recovery had helped local fuel stocks find support again.
"The local stories have been New Zealand Refining and Z Energy benefiting from the stabilisation in oil prices overnight," he said.
New Zealand Refining led the market higher, up 8.4 per cent at 90 cents - although still down 7.8 per cent this week. It was up as high as 96 cents today.
"The refinery has been particularly volatile on the news, down 10 per cent yesterday and then coming up 14 per cent today."
Z Energy increased 2.9 per cent to $3.15, off 2.8 per cent this week. New Zealand Oil & Gas rose 4.1 per cent to 50.5 cents.
Argosy Property today recorded a full-year portfolio revaluation gain of $61.7m, or 3.6 per cent. Of this, $50.8m was booked in the 30 September 2019 interim results.
While the industrial and office components of the portfolio gained value, large format retail fell 6.5 per cent as the Covid-19 crisis impacted rental and vacancy assumptions. Argosy's share price rose 2.9 per cent to $1.08.
Trethewey said retirement village operators received a boost after Housing Minister Megan Woods today confirmed private open home viewings would be able to take place at alert level 3. Combined with indications from the Reserve Bank that it may remove loan-to-value restrictions for home buyers, that would improve liquidity in the housing market.
"That is positive for retirement stocks who are reliant on the property market transacting, to allow incoming residents to sell their house and move into a village," Trethewey said.
Summerset Group rose 2.6 per cent to $6.31, Ryman Healthcare advanced 4.6 per cent to $12.50, Arvida Group increased 3 per cent to $1.33, and Metlifecare edged 0.2 per cent higher to $4.13.
Vital Healthcare Property Trust climbed 1.6 per cent to $2.49.
Synlait Milk rose 2.3 per cent to $7.10. Trethewey said it was up on the strength of A2 Milk's recent update, showing increased sales during the virus outbreak. Synlait is the major supplier of A2 products. A2 fell 0.8 per cent to $19.60.
Genesis Energy trimmed its full-year earnings guidance by $5m, citing lower-than-expected production from its Tekapo and Waikaremoana hydro schemes due to drought in the North Island. The shares rose 1.1 per cent to $2.81.
"It was small reduction to its guidance with the dividend remaining intact. The market is happy to look through that," Trethewey said.
Mercury NZ, which also trimmed its guidance earlier this week, rose 0.2 per cent to $4.36.
Contact Energy rose 1.5 per cent to $6.22 and Meridian Energy increased 0.2 per cent to $4.37.
Auckland International Airport today reported international passenger numbers were down 95.3 per cent in the first 20 days of April, with the border closed to all non-residents. The airport, already operating at just 10 per cent of capacity, said it expects this downturn to continue in the weeks ahead.
Trethewey said the market was anticipating a "bleak" few months for the company and the announcement was no surprise to investors.
"The stock continues to be reasonably well supported now that the company has sorted out its balance sheet following the capital raise earlier this month," he said.
The airport's shares rose 0.9 per cent to $5.79 and its main airline partner, Air New Zealand, rose 0.4 per cent to $1.28. The airline has said it is expecting to operate largely as a domestic operation for the foreseeable future.
Media company, NZME fell 12.2 per cent to 21.5 cents after the government announced a $50m support package aimed at propping up the endangered media sector
"Clearly investors don't think the $50m does enough to solve the issues facing the company at the moment," Trethewey said.
Broadcasting Minister Kris Faafoi himself underscored this first phase of support alone would "not be sufficient to see the sector through a prolonged period of restrictions and reduced advertising."
Sky Network Television rose 1.7 per cent to 30 cents.