Market close: NZ sharemarket stays positive despite Covid-19 uncertainties

The New Zealand sharemarket held up well amidst renewed Covid-19 uncertainties with further lockdowns in Australia. But retailer Kathmandu Holdings has been hit by the latest pandemic developments.

The S&P/NZX 50 Index stayed in positive territory all day, gaining 36.06 points or 0.29 per cent to 12,639.82, after reaching an intraday high of 12,653.37.

There were 84 gainers and 49 decliners across the whole market, and trading was strong with 63.02 million shares worth $199.13 million changing hands.

Dan Stratful, investment adviser with Forsyth Barr, said the market has put on a resilient performance since the US Federal Reserve meeting a couple of weeks ago – despite the border closures.

There are now lockdowns in four Australian states – New South Wales, Western Australia, Northern Territory and Queensland.

Stratful said the hawkish comments from the Federal Reserve that interest rate rises could be brought forward set the tone for the markets. “But we are up today, and that’s positive. We seem to be taking leads from the offshore markets – and technology stocks are having a rebound in the US. I think that’s helping.”

On Wall Street overnight, the technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite hit a new high, rising 0.98 per cent to 14,500.51 points. The index was led by Facebook which jumped 4.18 per cent to US$355.64 ($505.86) and became the latest US$1 trillion market cap stock, alongside Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and Google parent Alphabet. A US federal district judge dismissed two antitrust claims against Facebook.

Back at home, Kathmandu Holdings fell 4c or 2.5 per cent to $1.56 after revising group sales because of the Australian lockdowns. Forty stores in New South Wales and 26 in Western Australia are presently closed, soon after 62 stores were impacted by the two-week lockdown in Victoria.

Kathmandu said total sales for the full year are now expected to be lower at about $930m and operating earnings (Ebitda) are estimated at $120m.

The travel stocks rebounded. Auckland International Airport was up 3c to $7.285, and Air New Zealand rose 2.5c to $1.56. SkyCity Entertainment increased 5c to $3.43; Tourism Holdings gained 1c to $2.53, while Serko fell 13c or 1.71 per cent to $7.48.

There were few big moves amongst the steadfast blue chip stocks. But leading retirement village stock Ryman Healthcare fell another 33c or 2.51 per cent to $12.82, and rival Summerset Group was up 11c to $13.31.

The smaller retirement village stocks picked up some pace. Arvida gained 2c to $2.02 and Oceania Healthcare picked up 1c to $1.48.

Contact Energy increased 23c or 2.84 per cent to $8.34; Mercury was up 5c to $6.54; Meridian picked up 4c to $5.28; Port of Tauranga regained 5c to $7, Skellerup Holdings rose 14c or 2.88 per cent to a new two-year high of $5; Infratil gained 10.5c to $7.645; and Fonterra Shareholders’ Fund collected 7c or 1.92 per cent to $3.72.

Market leader Fisher and Paykel Healthcare decreased 13c to $31;75; Ebos Group was down 24c to $32.15; a2 Milk fell 13c or 1.95 per cent to $6.53; Seeka declined 6c to $5.10; and My Food Bag continues to struggle for traction, falling 3c to a low of $1.36 since listing at $1.85.

Other gainers were Restaurant Brands, up 25c to $14.30; Stride Property increasing 3.5c or 2.12 per cent to $2.41; Enprise Group rising 8c or 2.79 per cent to $2.95; Harmoney collecting 8c or 5.71 per cent to $1.48; Marsden Maritime Holdings picking up 7c to $6.11; and carpet maker Cavalier rising 3.5c or 7.69 per cent to 49c.

Comvita rose 5c to $3.50 after its new Auckland visitor attraction, the Wellness Lab, won the retail category at the 2021 Interior Awards.

Vital Healthcare Property Trust, which gained 1c to $3.05, has bought the Melbourne Epworth Camberwell 147-bed private mental health and rehabilitation hospital for A$82.7m ($88.89m). The trust has also recently purchased developable land near health facilities in Brisbane, Gold Coast and Auckland.

Rua Bioscience has entered a two-year advanced medicinal cannabis testing project with Waikato University. Rua’s share price edged ahead 0.005c to 39.5c.

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