The New Zealand sharemarket finished a nervous week almost where it started – with investors sidetracked by the latest government pronouncements, and implications, on the Covid-19 resurgence in the community.
The S&P/NZX 500 Index slipped 48.68 points or 0.42 per cent to 11,452.14 and was down 31 points for the whole week. The influential United States markets were also down.
Things went flat here when the country went into level 3 (Auckland) and level 2 (the rest) on Wednesday night, and has been extended for another 12 days.
There was late trading on the index, particularly in Fisher and Paykel Healthcare, with a total of 54.37 million shares worth $197.83 million changing hands, ending with 62 gainers and 80 decliners over the whole market.
"The market is very much in a holding pattern and people were bidding their time to see what comes out of the 5.30pm (Covid restrictions) announcement," said David Price, director institutional equities at Forsyth Barr. "During the week the market has bobbled along with relatively small movements, marking time for tonight's and next week's corporate results."
Stocks more closely connected to the impacts of Covid continued to wobble. SkyCity was down 4c to $2.36, Tourism Holdings fell 3c to $1.71, and Air New Zealand lost 2c to $1.305.
Auckland International Airport slipped 10c to $6.20 after revealing the impact of Covid-19 on passenger flows through its terminals. Total passenger volumes slumped 84.9 per cent in June and 70.8 per cent in July compared with the same months last year. International and transit passengers fell about 97 per cent and 95 per cent in both months, while domestic passengers improved in July, being down 39.2 per cent compared with 70.9 per cent in June.
The market heavyweights had contrasting days. Fisher and Paykel Healthcare fell 4c to $34.30 on a whopping $47.6m worth of trade, and a2 Milk increased 18c to $20.95 with $5.3m worth of its shares changing hands.
Technology firm ikeGPS completed its $20m capital raise by attracting $4.1m from retail shareholders who took up 66 per cent of their one for seven entitlements. The share price rose 2c or 2.08 per cent to 94c.
Wall Street had a patchy day even though market leaders Apple increased 8c to US$460.04 ($703.45) and Tesla climbed 66.24c or 4.26 per cent to US$1621. The Dow Jones Industrial Index was down 80.12 points to 27,896.72, S&P 500 declined 6.92 points to 3373.43, and Nasdaq Index fell 30.26 points to 11,042.50.
The US Labour Department reported new weekly jobless claims of 963,000, well ahead of economist estimates. The claims fell below 1 per cent for the first time since March 21.
Interestingly, from the March 23 pandemic low, the United States markets have just completed one of their biggest 100-trading –day rises since the Great Depression in 1933. The Dow Jones and S&P 500 have both rebounded more than 50 per cent since late March and technology-driven Nasdaq has gone up more than 60 per cent.
Safe haven gold stayed under the US$2000 an ounce market after its biggest one-day drop in seven years on Wednesday (NZ time). At 5.30pm, gold was trading at $1953 an oz after reaching a low of $1944.