By Sophie Boot
New Zealand shares rose to another record, led by Auckland International Airport as investors rallied behind blue-chip stocks with renewed confidence. Xero gained, while Orion Health Group fell.
The S&P/NZX 50 Index advanced 27.8 points, or 0.4 percent, to 6,446.73. Within the index, 32 stocks rose, 16 fell and two were unchanged. Turnover was $147.7 million.
Auckland Airport climbed 3.7 percent to $6.895, an all-time high. The stock has risen 17 percent, or just over $1, since Feb. 19, when the country's largest airport reported a 25 percent lift in first-half profit as it plans to spend up to $260 million this financial year to expand its facilities.
The local bourse has gained for seven straight trading sessions and posted new records in the past three.
Robert Garden, investment adviser at Craigs Investment Partners said the market has been driven by the positive performance of some of the larger companies such as Auckland Airport and Fletcher Building, which rose 0.8 percent to $7.44, along with global positive sentiment.
Xero rose 3.5 percent to $15.58, a one-month high.
"It's one of those stocks that when the sentiment towards risk becomes a bit more favourable, it tends to pick up a wee bit," Garden said.
Tower advanced 3.1 percent to $1.68, SkyCity Entertainment Group gained 2.7 percent to $4.55, and Sky TV rose 2 percent to $4.52.
Summerset rose 1.5 percent to $4.08, even as it shed rights to a 3.4 cents per share dividend payment on March 24.
Fonterra Shareholders Fund advanced 0.5 percent to $7.44. Fonterra cut its forecast payout to farmers for a second time this year, blaming Europe's continuing supply for depressing global prices.
Genesis Energy edged up 0.5 percent to $2.02 and Trustpower crept up 0.3 percent to $7.55.
Orion Health Group fell the most, down 3.2 percent to $3.
Trade Me Group shed 3.2 percent to $4.29, New Zealand Refining Co dropped 2.5 percent to $3.46, and Ryman Healthcare fell 2.2 percent to $8.12.