AUCKLAND: New Zealand shares rose as benign comments from the US and local central banks supported a more positive outlook through to the end of the year.
The S&P/NZX 50 index rose 35.39 points, or 0.4%, to 8931.40. Within the index, 28 stocks rose, seven were unchanged and 15 fell. Turnover was $103 million.
Greg Smith, head of research at Fat Prophets, said events this week had been good for investor sentiment globally.
The Democrats winning control of the US House of Representatives will provide a check on the Trump administration that ‘‘has been known to unnerve a few people from time to time’’.
A rate rise in the US in December is still likely, but any thawing in trade relations between China and the US at the G20 talks later this month could generate a ‘‘riskon rally into the end of the year’’, Mr Smith said.
The Reserve Bank’s reluctance to raise rates should also keep the local dollar low to the benefit of exporters and tourism operators, he said.
Spark New Zealand was the heaviest traded stock yesterday with more than 3.3 million shares changing hands. It rose 0.6% to $4.065.
Smith said the firm’s announcement this week that it would move into its own sports content production showed it was still capable of being a disruptor on a number of fronts.
Air New Zealand rose 0.5% to $3.065. The 2.04 million shares traded was roughly twice the daily average the past three months.
Fuel retailer Z Energy also continued to slow clawback from last week’s threeyear low. Julia Raue was the latest director to report share purchases this week. The stock was up 3% at $5.77 yesterday, with almost 1.4 million shares traded.
Units in the Fonterra Shareholders Fund fell 0.4% to $4.84. First NZ Capital said the company needs to seize the opportunity provided by the change in senior leadership to focus on value, and potentially quit poor performing brands.
Synlait Milk lifted 1.8% to $8.86 while a2 Milk fell 0.3% to $10.42. Mr Smith said the companies were wellpositioned in the growth market of China. While that was not without risk, he said there would be good support for a2 anywhere around $10.
Fast food operator Restaurant Brands rose 0.8% to $8.65. The company yesterday said talks on the sale of 75% of the business to Finaccess Capital were going well.
Warehouse Group rose 0.5% to $2.10. The firm said firstquarter sales rose 3.6% and margins improved at its stationery and general merchandise chains. It noted the market remains very competitive in general merchandise, apparel and in the appliance and technology sector Noel Leeming operates in.
Trade Me Group rose 2% to $5.12. More than 1.4 million shares changed hands, threetimes the daily average. The company on Thursday said revenue in the past four months was up 9% on last year, and earnings before interest and tax was 10% higher.
A late rally from banking and health care stocks limited losses to the local indices but falling oil prices ensured the energy sector would drag the Australian share market lower at the close.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed 6.4 points lower, or 0.11%, at 5921.8 yesterday, while the broader All Ordinaries fell 0.08%.
The Australian dollar weakened against its US counterpart after the Federal Reserve kept interest rates on hold, which surprised Westpac senior currency strategist Sean Callow given the decision came as little surprise.
The Aussie was buying US72.44c at 1630 AEDT from 72.82 on Thursday.
‘‘It’s strange because it [the commentary from the Federal Reserve] was a short statement. It was exactly the decision everyone expected; it was not very enlightening and didn’t really say anything we wouldn’t have expected,’’ Mr Callow told AAP.
The dropoff ends a choppy week for the Aussie dollar which passed the US73c mark for the first time since September but overall it is in a positive position given it was on the cusp of falling below US70c at the end of October.
‘‘We do have a sub70 as our base case over the next year but not short term,’’ Mr Callow said.
‘‘I think it can continue to dodge 70 and with that support from commodity prices plus a very bullish RBA, I’m inclined to think there’s room to the top side.’’
Meanwhile, oil prices fell nearly 2% overnight on the back of swelling global crude supply, which looks to have halted recent gains for local energy stocks.
The sector had been heading for four straight sessions in the black but closed 1.3% lower, with Woodside Petroleum, Caltex, Oil Search Ltd, Santos and Origin Energy all down between 0.2 and 2.6%.
Mining stocks were also down despite iron ore and copper rising overnight, with Rio Tinto 0.3% lower at $31.23 but BHP eked out a gain of 0.2% to $33.41.
Both banking and healthcare stocks surged late to finish higher with NAB the only of the big four in the red, losing 0.1% at $24.90, while ANZ and Commonwealth Bank were 0.3 and 0.4% higher respectively.
Westpac closed flat after it was fined $3.3 million for unconscionable conduct in the way its traders handled a key rate for several years.
Biotech company CSL was a drag on its sector, down 0.3% to $190.50, but Cochlear and ResMed were buoyant, lifting 1.8% and 1.7%.
In companies news, Lendlease stocks plummeted 18.3% to $14.25 after launching a review of its engineering and services unit due to problems on projects including Sydney’s NorthConnex motorway tunnel.
It forced the construction company to take a $350 million posttax provision in its firsthalf results. — BusinessDesk/AAP