Market close: NZ sharemarket posts gain as Auckland International Airport stands out

The New Zealand sharemarket is regaining some new-found confidence after posting a gain of more than half a per cent – with Auckland International Airport standing out.

The S&P/NZX 50 Index gained 78.63 points or 0.64 per cent to 12,446.76 on strong trading of 55.9 million shares worth $223.17 million. There were 63 gainers and 74 decliners over the whole market.

Jeremy Sullivan, investment adviser with Hamilton Hindin Greene, said the market continues to stabilise from the correction.

“The downward pressure we saw over the last two months has disappeared – though there will be some toing and froing with the end of the financial year on March 31.

“The expectation of interest rate rises is starting to ebb and it looks like the rates will remain lower for a longer period, and that’s good for the sharemarket,” said Sullivan. “The vaccine is being rolled out and economies are starting to open up.

“There’s also relief for the retirement village stocks with a fear that the right to occupy contracts might be caught up with the new housing measures, but that’s not the case,” he said.

The leading retirement village stocks Ryman Healthcare was up 21c to $15.08, and Summerset Group Holdings gained 15c to $12.01.

Auckland International Airport, looking forward to the transtasman travel bubble, had one of its better days, rising 29.5c or 4 per cent to $7.67. Air New Zealand was down 4c or 2.33 per cent to $1.68.

The energy stocks had a steady day with Contact rising 6c to $6.92; Meridian gaining 12.2c or 2.34 per cent to $5.345; Genesis up 8.5c or 2.53 per cent to $3.445; and Vector increasing 6c to $4.04.

Transport and logistics company Mainfreight climbed $1.20 or 1.8 per cent to $67.95, cheered on by the news that the Suez Canal is back up and running and its freight can reach the European hubs smoothly.

Other gainers were Freightways, up 10c to $11.10; Fletcher Building climbing 15c or 2.17 per cent to $7.05; Spark gaining 15.5c or 3.52 per cent to $4.56; AFT Pharmaceuticals picking up 18c or 3.9 per cent to $4.80; Seeka, beginning its latest kiwifruit harvest, collecting 8c or 1.6 per cent to $5.09; and SkyCity Entertainment increasing 7c or 2.05 per cent to $3.48.

Market leader Fisher and Paykel Healthcare fell 43c to $32.07 on trade worth $27.1m; Chorus was down 23c or 3.19 per cent to $6.98; Briscoe Group declined 10c or 1.75 per cent to $5.60; and manuka honey producer Comvita shed 7c or 2.17 per cent to $3.15.

A total of 6.2 million shares worth $43.5m were traded in utilities investor Infratil, and its share price was unchanged at $7. Infratil told the market it was buying $20m worth of its shares for manager Morrison & Co and its executives who must hold them for between 12 and 24 months.

Synlait Milk recovered 1c to $3.35 – it reached $3.48 during the day – after reporting a 76 per cent drop in half-year net profit and a fall in infant formula sales the day before. Synlait’s biggest customer a2 Milk was down 14c to $8.54.

Precinct Properties fell 4c or 2.36 per cent to $1.655 after previously announcing it was taking its management in-house. Stride Property was up 4c or 1.81 per cent to $2.25.

Wine exporter Delegat Group said a board member Graeme Lord will become the acting managing director after holding that position from 2014-18. Delegat is continuing to look for a new leader, and its share price fell 20c to $14.20.

My Food Bag’s bumpy ride continued with a fall of 2c to $1.59, after hitting $1.55 during the day. Harbour Asset Management and Jarden Securities have both increased their shareholdings – from 7.22 per cent to 8.12 per cent, and from 3.1 per cent to 3.35 per cent respectively.

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