NZ shares gain on open border and cheaper oil

New Zealand shares climbed on Wednesday after the government announced an earlier partial border reopening and oil prices took another fall.

Wednesday, March 16th 2022, 6:30PM

by BusinessDesk

The S&P/NZX 50 Index rose 72 points, or 0.6%, to 11,874.11. Turnover was $183 million.

US equity markets rose more than 2% overnight as a further fall in oil prices encouraged investors to buy back risk assets.

Jason Wong, a BNZ Bank strategist, said traders were likely expecting the covid-19 lockdown in China – the world’s largest oil importer – to result in less demand. 

“Some of the recent surge in oil prices reflected speculators pushing prices higher, rather than an actual shortage of oil, and the increased margins imposed by clearing houses has reduced speculative behaviour and a closing of active positions,” he said.

Shares in NZ Oil & Gas dropped 1.8% to 54 cents, while some stocks negatively affected by the high prices climbed.

The NZ government today announced fully vaccinated Australians will be able to freely enter the country next month, in time for the school holidays.

The government also signalled it was considering bringing the reopening date for countries with visa-waiver access forward from the current date in early May.

This announcement was positive news for tourism businesses, including those listed on the exchange.

Tourism Holdings climbed 1.8% to $2.79 and Air New Zealand jumped 2.2% to $1.41. The airline is expected to raise roughly $1 billion in capital in the next couple of weeks.

Auckland International Airport shares fell 1.1% to $7.20 after it said the omicron outbreak had reduced the number of passengers travelling through its premises.

Shares in Millennium & Copthorne Hotels rose 0.9% to $2.30 and Sky City Casino – which also owns a hotel – climbed 3.2% to $2.91.

Hotelier BK Chiu said Millennium & Copthorne had been “patiently holding our breath for this moment”.

The hotel chain will accelerate its own reopening plan to match the new dates, it said, which will likely improve its trading performance in the second half of the year.

Stock market operator NZX was unchanged at $1.38, after market conditions disrupted its capital raise and left its underwriter with almost 13 million shares that were passed up by market investors.

NZX chief executive Mark Peterson said he was pleased to have completed the raise despite the “significantly adverse market conditions”.

Pushpay Holdings had the day’s biggest fall on the NZX 50, down 2.7% at $1.07, while Mercury NZ had the biggest gain, up 4.5% at $5.75.

The NZ dollar was trading at 67.43 US cents at 3pm in Wellington, little changed from yesterday.

However, it made gains against the Australian dollar which is more sensitive to movement in the Chinese economy.

“When focus turns to China and concerns develop, the Australian dollar is often affected more than the NZ dollar and this has been the case this week,” BNZ’s Jason Wong said.

The kiwi broke above 94 Australian cents overnight but was trading back at 93.90 this afternoon.

Tags: Market Close

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