New Zealand shares continued to march higher as investors remained cautiously buoyed by the reopening of the economy and the virus outbreak passing. Vista Group International led the market higher.
The S&P/NZX Index increased 58.38 points, or 0.5 per cent, to 10,818.67. Within the index, 25 stocks rose, 22 fell, and three were unchanged. Turnover was $200.7 million.
The NZX saw choppy trading today and was in negative territory for much of the session as investors continued to grapple with economic life returning to a new normal.
Grant Davies, an investment adviser at Hamilton Hindin Greene, said the stocks most affected by the virus were moving in different directions as they adapted to new conditions.
"It's mixed trading, with 'Covid stocks' going in all directions," he said.
For example, rental campervan operator Tourism Holdings was up 1.2 per cent at $1.68, whereas Air New Zealand dropped 3.5 per cent to $1.225.
The benchmark index closed higher, holding its own, while Australia's market remained under pressure amid brewing tensions between Australia and China. The S&P/ASX 200 Index was down 1.4 per cent at 5pm in Wellington, joining a selloff across Asian equity markets.
Vista led the local market higher, up 7.4 per cent at $1.45 as investors anticipated cinemas reopening around the world.
Companies offering reliable dividends were also in demand as the prospect of negative interest rates discourages investors from buying bonds.
Meridian Energy increased 4.3 per cent to $4.965, Vector rose 2.8 per cent to $3.69, Contact Energy advanced 1.4 per cent to $6.35 and Genesis Energy rose 0.7 per cent to $2.90.
Property companies were in favour for the same reason, with Precinct Properties New Zealand up 3.6 per cent at $1.58, Goodman Property Trust rising 3.4 per cent to $2.315 and Property for Industry advancing 2 per cent to $2.28.
Z Energy rose 1.3 per cent to $3.18 when it resumed trading after raising $290m at a discounted price of $2.90.
"The share price is now ticking up on the reduced risk with the extra capital behind them and bank debt under control," Davies said.
Spark New Zealand rose 1 per cent to $4.69 after announcing it had been allocated the first portion of the spectrum band for the 5G network. Fixed-line network operator Chorus increased 0.3 per cent to $7.19.
Dual-listed lenders were among the day's weakest performers. Westpac Banking Corp dropped 4 per cent to $16.18, the biggest decline on the day, while Australia & New Zealand Banking Group fell 3.2 per cent to $16.51.
Davies said the banks had come under selling pressure as investors were jumpy about the prospect of raising capital as they prepare for bad debts related to the pandemic.
Some companies that had rallied on yesterday's announcement New Zealand would move to alert level 2 this week, gave back earlier gains in trading today.
Kathmandu Holdings fell 3.8 per cent to $1.02. Davies said Kathmandu was up 10 per cent early in the day before dropping away. Volumes traded in the stock have been a lot higher than usual, leading to larger swings.
SkyCity Entertainment Group dropped 3.4 per cent to $2.55. Today it announced it will reopen most of its New Zealand casino, entertainment and accommodation facilities on Thursday, although with reduced operating hours anticipating lower customer demand.
Sky Network Television fell 3.9 per cent to 37 cents, as it gave up some its recent rally. The sudden bounce prompted a 'please explain' letter from NZX Regulation over the 45 per cent gain since May 8. Sky said it remained in compliance with continuous disclosure obligations.
Outside the benchmark index, media company NZME rose 8.2 per cent to 26.5 cents. The publisher of the NZ Herald and operator of The Radio Network yesterday upped the ante in its bid to buy rival Stuff, lobbying the government for urgent legislation to let it do so.