The local sharemarket, now just 300 points off its high recorded on February 21, has taken a breather as it awaits a probable mixed earnings season.
Trading was flat as the S&P/NZX 50 Index settled at 11,764.59 points, up 6.87 points or 0.6 per cent. The index reached 12,073.34 points in February.
A total of 62.21 million shares worth $166.09 million were traded today, and there were 95 gainers and 46 decliners over the whole market of 182 stocks. The standouts were T&G Global and Contact Energy.
Jeremy Sullivan, investment adviser with Hamilton Hindin Green, said there's no clear direction in the market and everyone is eagerly awaiting the earnings results over the next couple of weeks.
He said the market has continuous disclosure and companies normally announce beforehand if they are more than 10 per cent out from their guidance. But many of them have removed guidance because of the uncertainty caused by the Covid pandemic.
"There will be more surprises and volatility in the earnings season than prior ones. Some companies will be winners and others losers as a result of Covid-19," Sullivan said.
T&G Global (formerly called Turners and Growers) announced a positive result early and climbed 20c or 7.69 per cent to $2.80. T&G, now concentrating on moving premium fresh produce, tripled its operating profit to $19.5m on increased revenue of $671.3m for the first six months of this year. This compared with profit of $6.2m for the same period last year
The company said "our decision to charter a ship early in the season to move apples to Europe and the United Kingdom meant we got ahead of any potential logistical challenges and could support our customers in maximising retail sales."
The day's other big gainers were Metro Performance Glass increasing 1.5c to 22c; ikeGPS Group up 5c to 92c; Sky Network Television up 0.8c to 13.8c; and Hallenstein Glasson rising 18c to $3.37. But the stocks moved on very low trading.
For instance, Metro – which announced its Melbourne-based Australian Glass Group was still operating in the lockdown – increased 7.32 per cent on 46 trades worth $30,772. Hallenstein, no doubt spurred on by the latest Paymark figures which saw retail spending increase 11.4 per cent in July compared with the same month last year, had 110 trades worth $134,061.
Contact led the energy stocks, rising 33c or 5.54 per cent to $6.29 with nearly $8.2m worth of shares changing hands, while Meridian was up 13c to $5 on $7m worth of trading. Vector was up 6c to $3.90, Trustpower increased 3c to $6.83, and Mercury and Genesis fell slightly.
Offshore, Wall Street had another good day, but gold is having the time of its life. It stayed in the US$2000 an oz zone for the second day running, having risen from $1477 an oz on March 18. At 5.30pm today gold was trading at $2047.55 an oz. Silver was also up at $27.49 an oz, having more than doubled from March 18 when it traded at $11.74 an oz.
The Dow Jones Industrial Index rose 373 points or 1.39 per cent to 27,201.52 as optimism around passing a bipartisan second Covid stimulus package outweighed bleak jobs data. According to the latest ADP report, United States added 167,000 private payrolls in July, well below the 1.2m estimate from economists. There was a 4.3m increase in June.