New Zealand shares pushed higher today, led by Air New Zealand and Port of Tauranga, as the local bourse joined a global rally after Emmanuel Macron was elected President of France with a business-friendly vision of European integration.
The S&P/NZX 50 Index rose 61 points, or 0.8 per cent, to 7,426.460. Within the index, 26 stocks rose, 13 fell and 11 were unchanged. Turnover was $116 million.
"We had a market-friendly French election result ... and we had strong jobs numbers in the US and so the political risk that's been weighing on a number of fronts might be receding a bit," said Greg Smith, head of research at Fat Prophets in Auckland.
In the US, non-farm payrolls surged by 211,000 last month after a paltry gain of 79,000 in March, and the unemployment rate dropped to 4.4 per cent, near a 10-year low and well below the most recent Federal Reserve median forecast for full employment.
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Air New Zealand led the market higher, adding 2.6 per cent to $2.74. Fisher & Paykel Healthcare, which is benefiting from the recent slide in the New Zealand dollar, was up 2.4 per cent at $10.19. Xero added 1.8 per cent to $21.38, as investors start to take positions ahead of its results that are due Thursday.
Dual-listed Westpac Banking Corp shed 0.1 per cent to $36.37. Westpac's New Zealand division contributed A$435m to the group's first-half cash earnings of A$4.02 billion, up 3 per cent from a year earlier. While the stock ended lower, the "result has gone down relatively well after some mixed results last week", Smith said.
The market was weighed on by a 2.9 per cent fall in Tourism Holdings to $3.69 and a 2.9 per cent slide in Australia and New Zealand Banking Group to $32.
Analysts cut their valuation on Comvita's stock late last week and there were jitters about the discovery of the myrtle rust fungal plant in the Far North. The stock shed 1.9 per cent to $6.33.
Tegel also remained out of favour after last week's news that chairman James Ogden has unexpectedly quit the board effective immediately after less than a year overseeing the poultry company's direction as a publicly listed company, without an explanation. It ended down 0.9 per cent at $1.09.
NZME shares rose 5 per cent to 84c. Smith said much of the markets attention has been focused on Australasian news publisher Fairfax Media after it confirmed to investors that a "non-binding indicative proposal" from US-based private equity firm TPG to buy its three most powerful Australian newspaper titles and the company's real estate website, Domain.
The New Zealand Commerce Commission last week declined the proposed merger between Fairfax NZ and NZME, the NZX-listed publisher of the New Zealand Herald and a string of regional newspapers and associated websites, saying the tie-up would create too dominant a single news producing group that would risk a loss of 'plurality' of opinions and coverage necessary to a healthy democracy.