Market close: Old favourites kick New Zealand sharemarket into gear

Old favourites like Fisher and Paykel Healthcare, Mainfreight and a2 Milk kicked the New Zealand sharemarket into life as it gained 1 per cent and wiped out most of the week’s losses.

With the pressure coming off interest rates, the S&P/NZX 50 Index climbed steadily all day, gaining 130.67 points or 1.01 per cent to 13,074.61. The index finished a wild week just 0.18 per cent down.

There were 85 gainers and 42 decliners over the whole market and trading was strong for a Friday with 59.24 million shares worth $223.51 million changing hands.

Overnight, the Bank of England set a positive tone for global markets and surprised analysts by maintaining its benchmark interest rate at its historic low of 0.1 per cent and voting to continue the bond-buying programme to support the economy.

Shane Solly, portfolio manager with Harbour Asset Management, said the Bank of England was the third central bank this week to take a cautious path and not aggressively tighten monetary policy as people expected.

“Wholesale interest rates have pulled back slightly and this provided a platform for growth stocks, with technology doing well in the United States. New Zealand is one of the stronger-performing markets globally. The only one beating it is the Philippines and I don’t know much about their market.

“We are seeing a bit of sunlight. We are entering an earnings season over the next couple of weeks with half-year and quarterly results. If one or two companies deliver good results, then this could be the catalyst for the market to kick on,” said Solly.

Trustpower, Pushpay Holdings, Mainfreight, Infratil and The Warehouse are reporting next week.

Both the New Zealand and US 10 Year government bond yields fell 0.038 per cent to 2.53 per cent and 1.54 per respectively. And the oil price fell to US$79 a barrel from US$85 last week, taking some pressure off inflation.

Locally, most of the top 50 stocks had solid days. Market leader Fisher and Paykel Healthcare led the way, rising 66c or 2.08 per cent to $32.46 on trade worth $32.12m – reaching its highest price level for more than a month.

Mainfreight followed with a gain of $2.95 or 3.4 per cent to $89.70; a2 Milk rose 13c or 1.99 per cent to $6.67; and Ryman Healthcare increased 27c or 1.91 per cent to $14.37.

Other leading stocks adding their weight were Ebos Group, rising 72c or 2.03 per cent to $36.16; Auckland International Airport up 13c to $8.11; and Port of Tauranga rebounding 24c or 3.69 per cent to $6.75.

New Listing Vulcan Steel had a strong second day of trading, rising 30c or 4 per cent to $7.80. Competitor Steel & Tube is catching the bug as the demand for steel grows, gaining 4c or 3.2 per cent to $1.29.

AFT Pharmaceuticals increased 17c or 3.63 per cent to $4.85 after signing an exclusive distribution agreement with ASX-listed McPherson’s to drive growth of its over-the-counter pain relief and nutritional supplement products in Singapore.

Freightways was up 11c to $12.78; Arvida gained 5c or 2.5 per cent to $2.05; Chorus increased 4c to $6.46; Vista Group rose 5c or 2 per cent to $2.55; Michael Hill International climbed 5c or 4.76 per cent to $1.10; and Foley Wines collected 4c or 2.45 per cent to $1.67.

Spark confirmed operating earnings (ebitdai) guidance of $1.13 billion-$1.16b and dividend of 25c a share for the 2022 financial year, and its share price was up 1c to $4.55. Spark told shareholders at its annual meeting that it was accelerating its 5G rollout and nationwide coverage will be delivered by the end of 2023.

Property for Industry was up 2c to $2.89 after telling the market it had secured lease renewals for key properties, showing there was good demand for industrial warehouses. Fellow property companies Investore rose 5c or 2.66 per cent to $1.93, and Vital Healthcare Property Trust gained 3c to $2.95.

Briscoe Group was down 13c or 1.89 per cent to $6.74 after providing an update that saw group sales year to date (39 weeks) increase 9.52 per cent to $496.9m, with online sales making up 22.14 per cent. But sales for the third quarter ending October were $138.5m, 14.4 per cent below the $161.3m for previous corresponding period.

Sanford fell 9c to $4.93. The company told the market that its respected chief operating officer Clement Chia was leaving in January after seven years in the executive team.

Other decliners were Delegat Group, down 10c to $14.50; DGL Group falling 9c or 2.9 per cent to $3.01; and Just Life Group decreasing 4c or 4.55 per cent to 84c.

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