Market close: NZ sharemarket unnerved by rebalancing

They were impressive figures. Nearly $1.3 billion worth of Contact and Meridian Energy shares were traded with the offshore exchange traded funds rebalancing their weightings, but it didn’t unnerve the New Zealand sharemarket.

The S&P/NZX 50 Index gained 48.18 points or 0.38 per cent to 12,684.73 – as the global markets show more confidence and are steadily moving upwards. On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average broke through the 34,000 points mark for the first time.

On the local market, there were 72 gainers and 61 decliners and volume soared to an unprecedented level of 242.22 million share transactions worth $1.45b because of the iShares Global Clean Energy Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) selling activity.

Contact and Meridian rose all week, defying predictions that their share prices would fall, as the two BlackRock iShares funds reduced their weightings in the renewable energy stocks from over 4 per cent to just under 1 per cent. The S&P global index the funds track are adding 51 new constituents.

Now, Contact and Meridian can get on with their own lives.

Contact closed at $7.68, up 18c or 2.4 per cent, with 81.48 million shares worth $626.12 million changing hands. Meridian was up 5c to $6.05 on trade of 106.42 million shares worth $644.51m. More than 10 per cent of Contact’s total shares and about 5 per cent of Meridian’s changed hands.

Sam Dickie, senior portfolio manager with Fisher Funds, said “we have seen a collapse in volatility in the markets and now they are very relaxed about economic recovery and getting out of the Covid woods.

Fisher and Paykel Healthcare had a strong day, rising 81c or 2.48 per cent to $33.50; Ebos Group was up 33c to $30.28; Fletcher Building gained 14c or 1.99 per cent to $7.18; Z Energy climbed 6c or 2.32 per cent to $2.65; and SkyCity Entertainment picked up 4c to $3.45.

Napier Port rose 10c or 29 per cent to $3.55 after upgrading its full-year operating earnings forecast to $39m-$42m, from the previous $34m-$38m because of solid demand from Hawke’s Bay fruit and fibre exports. Bulk trade for the six months ending March increased 17.1 per cent, including 20.6 per cent surge in log trade, and container volumes remained steady.

Apple grower Scales Corporation, which exports out of Napier, gained 7c to $4.60.

Other port companies had mixed days. Port of Tauranga was down 12c to $7.43; South Port New Zealand fell 9c to $8.80; and Marsden Maritime Holdings, owner of Northport, was up 9c to $6.14.

Auckland International Airport fell 12c or 1.6 per cent to $7.38 but its latest statistics showed increased activity. Total passenger volumes in March decreased 53.8 per cent compared with the same month last year but it was an improvement on February when volumes fell 71 per cent.

Other decliners were Mainfreight, down $1.21 or 1.73 per cent to $68.54; a2 Milk losing 8c to $8.83; Ryman Healthcare declining 18c to $14.47; Restaurant Brands falling 15c to $13; and Vector shedding 6c to $4.05.

Former world discus champion and trade commissioner in New York Beatrice Faumuina has been appointed a brand ambassador for water cooler supplier Just Life Group, and its share price slipped 1c to 83c.

Property for Industry, which has extended its loan facility with Commonwealth Bank of Australia for another six years to 2028 and increased the amount to $125m, gained 2c to $2.86.

Overnight, the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed over the 34,000 mark for the first time, spurred on by improving economic data – US retail sales surged 10 per cent in March thanks to the US$1400 ($1955) government stimulus cheque for consumers, and unemployment claims fell to a fresh low for the Covid pandemic period.

The Dow Jones rose 305 points or 0.9 per cent to a new high of 34,035.99 and the S&P 500 Index also struck a record close, for the 22nd time this year, increasing 1.11 per cent to 4170.42. The Nasdaq Composite surged 1.13 per cent to 14,038.76, just short of its February record. Apple was up 1.87 per cent to US$134.50 ($187.82), and Microsoft rose 1.53 per cent to US$259.50 ($362.37).

With the first quarter results season starting, analysts are expecting an average 30 per cent increase in earnings, compared with the same period last year, for companies in the S&P 500 Index.

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