New Zealand shares edged higher, led by Kathmandu Holdings, which will start reopening its Australian stores this week and as investors found hope in the prospect of a trans-Tasman travel bubble.

The S&P/NZX Index increased 14.75 points, or 0.1 per cent, to 10,490.73. Within the index, 28 stocks rose, 14 fell, and eight were unchanged. Turnover was $138.1 million.

Kathmandu rose 10.7 per cent to 83 cents after it said it had begun to reopen its Australian stores after a month-long closure. The majority of Kathmandu and Rip Curl stores in New South Wales and Queensland have already reopened with robust safety protocols in place and the remaining stores are expected to reopen by the end of this week.

"Analysts were largely pricing in an indefinite 'on hold' for this financial year, so to be opening up towards middle of May adds six weeks of sales that analysts had already written off," chief market strategist at CMC Markets Michael McCarthy said.


While stores in New Zealand and other jurisdictions remain closed, they too will begin to reopen as governments allow.

New Zealand's Cabinet is expected to decide on Monday when the country will move to alert level 2. Today was the second day with no new virus cases reported, which buoyed investor expectations of a further opening of the economy.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern joined the Australian National Cabinet today to plan the opening of a travel route between the countries "as soon as it is safe to do so."

Ardern had already suggested domestic travel may be permitted at level 2 and tourism operators have said a trans-Tasman bubble will be key to medium-term survival.

Tourism Holdings rose 3.1 per cent to $1.35 and Auckland International Airport rose 0.2 per cent to $5.86. Air New Zealand fell 1.6 per cent to $1.25.

Pushpay Holdings increased 5.8 per cent to $4.55 after Chinese fintech giant Tencent yesterday bought a 5 per cent stake in Australian buy now, pay later firm Afterpay, boosting investor confidence in fintech products, McCarthy said. Pushpay is due to report annual earnings tomorrow.

Smartpay Holdings also gained 2.7 per cent to 38.5 cents.

Outside the benchmark index, Augusta Capital said it plans to raise $45m through both a placement to institutions and an accelerated rights issue, both of which are deeply discounted and fully underwritten by Forsyth Barr and Jarden. Its shares are on a trading halt at 80 cents.


The property company's erstwhile suitor, ASX-listed Centuria Capital, has agreed to participate in the capital raising and will get a seat on Augusta's board.

Genesis Energy rose 2.7 per cent to $2.905, Meridian Energy advanced 1.8 per cent to $4.47 and Contact Energy increased 0.2 per cent to $6.20.

Fuel retailer Z Energy rose 3 per cent to $3.12 and Refining NZ held at 90 cents.

Trading on the New Zealand securities exchange surged in April as investors bought into the crater left behind by the market's history-making plunge in late March.

The number of equity trades was up more than 360 per cent at 1.3 million, with an increase in low-value trades cutting the average on-market trade size in half – to $2,463. Stock market operator NZX shares rose 0.8 per cent to $1.27

Healthcare wholesaler EBOS rose 0.8 per cent to $22.18 after presenting at the Macquarie Australia Conference affirming its strong increase in sales during the pandemic. Fisher & Paykel Healthcare fell 1.2 per cent to $27.80.


Gentrack Group posted the day's biggest decline, down 2.7 per cent at $1.43.