The New Zealand sharemarket closed 2020 down nearly 1 per cent and deserved a good New Year's break after staging one of the most remarkable 12 months of trading in its 105-year history.
The S&P/NZX 50 Index had a late fall on light volume, slipping 125.5 points or 0.95 per cent to 13,091.64 after reaching 13,265.3l during the half-day trading.
A total of 53 million shares worth $75.58 million changed hands, and there were 49 gainers and 74 decliners over the whole market.
The local market reopens on Tuesday.
Share trading first began in Dunedin in 1866 on the back of the gold rush and it became nationally established with the formation of the Stock Exchange Association of New Zealand in 1915.
The leading index finished 2020 nearly 13.5 per cent ahead since the start of the year, and during December it reached all-time highs after breaking through the 13,000 points milestone. That's despite the market falling 30 per cent in late March when the Covid-19 pandemic hit home and caused the nationwide lockdown.
It was the year the energy stocks, with their healthy dividends, became fashionable and were courted by global exchange trade funds — though profit-taking occurred on the last day of the year. Meridian, now the market's leading stock on market capitalisation, fell 43c or 5.48 per cent to $742, Contact decreased 29c or 3.15 per cent to $8.91, and Mercury slipped 14.5c or 2.17 per cent to $6.53.
It was the year top-performing Mainfreight became the first New Zealand stock to break through $60, then $65 and nearly $70. The transport and logistics operator finished the year down 39c to $69.50.
It was the year medical devices supplier Fisher & Paykel Healthcare became the market darling, but its share price was culled in the last month or so as investors pondered the impact of the new Covid vaccines and its continued rapid earnings performance in 2021.
Fisher & Paykel farewelled 2020 on a high note, rising 13c to $32.97 — after reaching its peak of $37.68 on August 28.
It was the year a2 Milk stumbled after being too optimistic about its earnings outlook in the face of selling difficulty through the daigou channel out of Australia. Its share price plunged 20 per cent on December 18 but its recovery is under way, finishing the year ahead 2c to $12.07.
It was the year that the tourism and hospitality stocks took a hit from Covid. Air New Zealand closed 3c down to $1.80; large cap share Auckland International Airport fell 14.5c or 1.88 per cent to $7.58; Tourism Holdings shed 1c to $2.60; and cinema software firm Vista Group was unchanged at $1.68. SkyCity Entertainment was down 4c to $3.21, though it made some inroads in the latter part of the year.
It was the year that some small cap stocks reared their heads — such as cancer diagnostic firm Pacific Edge, unchanged at $1.22; electronics manufacturer Rakon, up 1c to 58c; NZME unchanged at 70c; and water cooler supplier Just Life unchanged at 77c after rising from 38c in August.
or 2.35 per cent to $5.23; Summerset Group Holdings rose 10c to $12.55, Seeka up 5c to $4.85; and AFT Pharmaceuticals increased 11c or 2.04 per cent to $5.51.
Medical consumables company Ebos Group, another solid performer reaching a new high, was down 20c to $28.70; Trustpower lost 5c to $7.90; Port of Tauranga declined 7c to $7.40; and online travel provider Serko fell 11c or 1.86 per cent to $5.79.