NZ shares rise as Meridian leads gains
By Suze Metherell
New Zealand shares rose as a decline in the currency and the promise of lower interest rates boosted sentiment for equities.
Meridian Energy led the market higher, as Fisher & Paykel Healthcare rose to a record.
The S&P/NZX 50 Index advanced 22.37 points, or 0.4 percent, to 5870.76. Within the index, 28 stocks rose, 15 fell and seven were unchanged. Turnover was $111 million.
The Reserve Bank governor Graeme Wheeler repeated that further depreciation in the New Zealand dollar is necessary and reiterated the central bank was firmly in an easing cycle to maintain growth in a speech.
Stocks held for their reliable dividend supported the market's gains.
Meridian Energy climbed 3.3 percent to $2.19, SkyCity Entertainment Group advanced 2.6 percent to $4.30, Goodman Property Trust climbed 1.6 percent to $1.27 and Spark New Zealand increased 1.2 percent to $2.90.
The local currency has retreated to six-year lows on the back of weak dairy prices and fuelled by the Reserve Bank's move to lower interest rates.
Stocks with currency exposure, like exporters, gained.
F&P Healthcare, the breathing apparatus manufacturer and exporter, gained 0.3 percent to a match Monday's record $7.60. Ebos Group, the health and animal care with assets in Australia, rose 1.4 percent to $11.10.
"Currency-related investments tend to be getting a lot more focus in recent days and recent weeks than they have for quite a while," JB Were's Ricky Ward said. "The weaker New Zealand dollar against the US in particular is helping export orientated companies."
Ryman Healthcare, New Zealand's largest retirement village operator, fell 0.4 percent to $8.41. It told shareholders at its annual meeting it plans to increase resident numbers by 70 percent in the next five years in New Zealand and Australia as it also mulls an ASX listing.
Of the day's decliners, Kathmandu Holdings was the worst performer, declining 1.8 percent to $1.67. The outdoor goods retailer is in the middle of a takeover offer from Briscoe Group, the homewares and sporting goods chain.
Abano Healthcare shares were unchanged at $7.50 after the specialist medical investor lifted underlying earnings 46 percent, and paid a fatter dividend, underpinned by its dental and audiology businesses.