By Jonathan Underhill
New Zealand shares rose, pushing the S&P/NZX 50 Index to its highest in more than two months, as the rebound in dairy prices, relatively low kiwi dollar and rising house prices lifted sentiment for the economic outlook.
Heartland New Zealand, Fonterra Shareholders' Fund and Summerset Group gained.
The S&P/NZX 50 Index rose 14.82 points, or 0.3 percent, to 5834.83. Within the index, 35 stocks rose, six fell and nine were unchanged. Turnover was $123 million.
Dairy prices have climbed about 63 percent from their low of early August, based on the GlobalDairyTrade price index and traders will be watching this week's auction for any signs the rally is running out of puff.
The kiwi dollar is trading near a four-month high at 68.11 US cents, but is down about 23 percent from its highs of November 2014, when it touched 88.35 cents, easing the pressure on exporters bringing home their offshore sales and helping tourist businesses.
Meanwhile, households are feeling better off in the face of rising property values and low mortgage rates.
Fonterra Fund units rose 0.9 percent to $5.40 and have climbed from as low as $4.58 in June. A2 Milk was unchanged at 77 cents and have gained from 46 cents in February. Synlait Milk was unchanged at $2.40, up from $2.04 in late August.
Heartland New Zealand rose 2.5 percent to $1.23.
Summerset Group rose 1.8 percent to $3.88. Ryman Healthcare rose 1.6 percent to $7.60 and Metlifecare gained 0.2 percent to $4.26.
Goodman Property Trust rose 0.8 percent to $1.20. Precinct Properties NZ rose 1.3 percent to $1.205 and Kiwi Property Group climbed 0.8 percent to $1.335. Argosy Property rose 0.9 percent to $1.085.
Steel & Tube Holdings rose 1.5 percent to $2.72 and Fletcher Building was up 0.1 percent to $7.25.Chorus rose 1.1 percent to $2.78.
Auckland International Airport edged up 0.1 percent to $5.10.
Outside the NZX 50, Moa Group rose 5.4 percent to 39 cents and Veritas Investments dropped 5.7 percent.