WELLINGTON: New Zealand shares rose yesterday, supported by overnight gains on Wall Street and positive trading in Australia. a2 Milk Co and Synlait Milk rose.
The S&P/NZX 50 index rose 37.64 points, or 0.4%, to 8816.42. Within the index, 27 stocks rose, seven were unchanged and 16 fell. Turnover was $130.9 million.
Sentiment got a lift when the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.8% and the S&P 500 lifted 0.6% on gains in the broader financial sector. Australia’s S&P/ ASX 200 index was up 0.9% after the Reserve Bank of Australia kept rates on hold at a record 1.5%.
‘‘It’s been a positive day in reaction to offshore firmness in the markets. We are really following them and we are just clawing back our losses from October,’’ Grant Williamson, a director at Hamilton Hindin Greene said.
A2 Milk lifted 3.5% to $10.50 after falling in recent sessions. Mr Williamson said the lift was not driven by any specific news but by buying interest at these levels.
There seemed to be a ‘‘pretty significant turnaround’’ with buyers coming back into the market in November, he said.
Synlait rose 2.9% to $8.76. Other companies to garner buying interest included Spark New Zealand, which rose 2.3% to $4.07. Kathmandu Holdings added 3.2% at $2.90.
Orion Health Group was up 1.8% to $1.16. Yesterday, the technology company raised the likely price range for its planned buyback to $1.20 to $1.25 from $1.16 to $1.26, following the completion of the sale of its Rhapsody unit to UK private equity firm Hg for $205 million.
Contact Energy added 0.9% to $5.65. Earlier the company said its operating earnings during the past four months were ahead of last year. It generated 3158GWh of electricity in the four months through October, about 8% more than the year before. Average prices for that output were 55% higher at $133.42 per megawatt hour.
Genesis Energy added 0.2% to $2.41. Mercury NZ dipped 0.7% to $3.405 and Meridian Energy fell 1.4% to $3.115.
Mr Williamson said gains were across the board with the exception of a handful of stocks.
Ryman Healthcare fell 3.3% to $12.20 but he said there was no specific driver behind the move. The same was true for SkyCity Entertainment, which fell 3.4% to $3.72.
Z Energy bounced slightly after sharp falls since it rattled investors last Thursday with a 21% drop in firsthalf earnings and a dividend about 5c less than they were expecting. The stock added 1.9% to $5.28.
While investors will be keeping one eye on domestic news, such as labour data today and the central bank’s monetary policy statement tomorrow, Mr Williamson said the main focus was offshore.
US congressional midterm elections were of particular interest but tough to call, he said. Results are due tomorrow (NZ time).
The Australian sharemarket closed nearly 1% higher after strong gains from banking, energy and resources stocks.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was 57.1 points higher, or 0.98%, at 5875.2 yesterday while the broader All Ordinaries rose 0.91%.
The Australian dollar held firm after the Reserve Bank kept the official cash rate at a record low of 1.5% and Governor Philip Lowe said GDP was expected to grow 3.5% in 2018 and 2019, up from 3.0%.
The Melbourne Cup may be the race that stops the nation but its corresponding partial public holiday combined with the looming US midterm election made for a light day of trading on the local indices, CommSec market analyst James Tao said.
‘‘A lot of people’s attention is certainly not on the markets today so the light volume has seen a pick up for the financials and resources,’’ he said.
‘‘There’s a bit of a holding pattern here and globally.’’
Investors are also likely holding out for the US rates decision coming later this week followed by the RBA’s statement on monetary policy, Mr Tao told AAP.
Local energy stocks were higher reacting to rising crude oil prices, with Woodside Petroleum, Oil Search, Santos, Soul Pattinson, and Origin, all up between 0.8% and 3.9%.
Major miners BHP, up 1.3% to $33.55, and Rio Tinto, up 2.1% to $81.25, were buoyant for the resources sector, while BlueScope Steel and South 32 both closed more than 1% higher.
Gold prices edged slightly lower overnight but this had little impact on its mining stocks, with Newcrest Mining, Northern Star, Evolution, St Barbara and OceanaGold all up between 1% and 2.7%. —BusinessDesk/AAP