By Sophie Boot
New Zealand shares hit a record for the fifth consecutive trading session as the weak kiwi dollar lifted sentiment for companies making sales offshore. Kathmandu Holdings and Fisher & Paykel Healthcare rose.
The S&P/NZX 50 Index gained 10.5 points, or 0.2 percent, to 6,457.25. Within the index, 25 stocks rose, 15 fell and 10 were unchanged. Turnover was $192 million.
Despite falling in intraday trading, the market ended on a positive note, although today's "pretty flat performance" was not helped by the lack of leads from overseas, said Grant Williamson, director at Hamilton Hindin Greene.
The New Zealand dollar fell to 67.19 US cents against the greenback from 67.69 cents today, amid expectations tomorrow's Reserve Bank monetary policy statement will include a lower track for short-term interest rates and comment that the kiwi dollar is higher than warranted given weak commodity prices and moderate domestic economic growth.
Kathmandu led the index, up 3.2 percent to $1.61, a one-month high for the retailer which is now trading at the same price as it began the year.
Dual-listed banks gained as the S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.8 per cent at 5.30pm Wellington time, with ANZ climbing 2.9 percent to $28.10 and Westpac rising 1.8 percent to $35.70.
F&P Healthcare rose 2.3 percent to $9.05.
Fonterra Shareholders Fund dropped 2.5 percent to $5.75.
Meanwhile, retirement home operator Summerset Group advanced 1.7 percent to $4.15 while Trade Me Group increased 1.6 percent to $4.36.
Stocks to fall included Auckland International Airport, down 2.4 percent to $6.73 and Port of Tauranga dropped 1.1 percent to $18.70.
Stocks going ex-dividend included Skellerup, which closed at $1.29 as it gave up rights to its final dividend of 3.5 cents per share, while New Zealand Refining Co closing at $3.29, with its final dividend of 20 cents per share payable on March 24. Vital Healthcare was unchanged at $2.05.