New Zealand shares started soft but ended stronger as Sky Network Television pared back some of yesterday's losses amid speculation it's won the rights to broadcast All Blacks and Super rugby matches.
The S&P/NZX50 50 Index increased by 36.98 points, or 0.3 per cent, to 10,923.71. Within the index, 27 stocks rose, 16 fell, and seven were unchanged. Turnover was $83.3 million
Sky recouped some of yesterday's slump, rising 1.1 per cent to 89 cents, having shed about a fifth of its value yesterday. Almost 1.5 million shares traded hands, after 3.3 million were traded yesterday. Its 90-day average is 848,000 shares.
The pay-TV operator bounced back from yesterday's loss of the domestic cricket broadcasting rights, announcing this morning it will keep world cup cricket coverage for the next four years.
Later in the day, Sky played down speculation it kept the broadcasting rights for all All Blacks, Rugby Championship and Super Rugby matches until 2025 in a $400m deal, saying the negotiations were continuing.
The rumours come ahead of Sky's annual meeting next week, where shareholders will be asked to vote on whether management can negotiate "as they see fit" for the rights.
A2 Milk led the market higher, up 2.3 per cent at $13.20 on a volume of 328,000 shares, less than half its 782,000 average.
Chris Timms, an investment adviser at Craigs Investment Partners, said investors are still looking for quality stocks, which supported the likes of A2 and other well-known companies including Fisher & Paykel Healthcare and Meridian Energy. F&P Healthcare rose 0.6 per cent to $17 and Meridian was up 0.7 per cent at $5.31 on a volume of almost 2 million shares
"The rest of the market has been in recovery as A2 Milk has come back along with some of the bigger players like F&P Healthcare," Timms noted.
Fletcher Building was today's volume leader, with more than 2.3 million shares trading hands, compared to its 1.4 million average. The stock fell 0.8 per cent to $4.70.
Investore Property posted the day's biggest decline, down 2.1 per cent at $1.85 on a volume of 83,000 shares, almost half its 151,000 average.
Overnight leads were broadly positive, and stocks across Asia were stronger. Hong Kong's Hang Seng was up 2.1 per cent in afternoon trading and the Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.4 per cent. The S&P/ASX 200 Index advanced 0.9 per cent.
Timms said the low interest rate environment meant investors are accepting a bit of risk for more return, given more optimism about the trade talks between the US and China.
US President Donald Trump is "talking a pretty big book at the moment and saying he doesn't have to make a deal but he's coming up for election next year and the Chinese don't have to worry about that sort of thing," Timms said.
Air New Zealand was trading up 0.7 per cent at $2.85 after the national carrier announced Greg Foran, the chief executive of Walmart US, would return to New Zealand to take over as chief executive officer from early next year.
Outside the benchmark index, Michael Hill International shares rose by 14.5 per cent to a six-month high of 71 cents, with almost 1.8 million shares traded. Today, the jeweller reported a 9.7 per cent lift in September-quarter sales, although it said margin compression is still an issue.