The New Zealand sharemarket’s benchmark index has climbed to another record as economic growth, the prospect of political stability and distance from geo-political tensions in Eastern Europe lure investors.
The NZX 50 Index rose 19.051 points, or about 0.4 per cent, to a record 5154.715 on Wednesday.
Within the index, 26 stocks rose, 15 fell and nine were unchanged. Turnover was $135 million.
Russia cemented its claim to Ukraine’s breakaway peninsula Crimea as Western countries warned of sanctions, stoking concern regional tensions may rise. Meanwhile the NZ Herald’s DigiPoll survey projected a third term for the governing National Party as the domestic economy picks up pace.
Contact Energy climbed 2.1 per cent to $5.36, Mighty River Power advanced 1.5 per cent to $2.10, while Meridian Energy rose 1.4 per cent to $1.11.
“New Zealand is viewed as a safe haven – obviously the economic conditions are pretty supportive here at the moment with GDP going to be over four per cent this year,” said Craig Stent, an analyst with Harbour Asset Management.
“The polls that came out yesterday indicating potentially that National might be able to govern alone or with coalition partners again is why you’ve seen a bounce back in the utility stocks.”
A key election policy of the Labour and Greens opposition is to regulate the electricity market, creating a single state-owned wholesale electricity buyer, which would force down prices.
Online auction website Trade Me Group led the index higher, up 2.7 per cent to $3.83.
Fonterra Shareholders’ Fund, which gives investors access to Fonterra Cooperative Group’s dividend stream, gained 2.5 per cent to $6.10.
Brisbane-based jeweller Michael Hill International climbed 2.2 per cent to $1.40.
Diligent Board Member Services declined two per cent to $4.36, after saying it will miss the March 31 deadline to file its annual report because of auditing delays on its restated accounts.