Market close: Gain in light trading as US vote counted, Fletcher rises
New Zealand shares rose in light trading as investors awaited the outcome of the US presidential election. Fletcher Building paced the advance and Steel & Tube Holdings rose on news it will return to the benchmark index.
The NZX 50 Index rose 15.42 points, or 0.4%, to 3943.09. Within the index, 23 stocks rose, 12 fell and 15 were unchanged. Turnover was a lower-than-average $44.4 million.
With counting in the US vote under way, President Barack Obama led challenger Mitt Romney by 228 electoral votes to 176 as the New Zealand market closed. A candidate needs 270 electoral votes to win the presidency. US media reports later reported he had won a second term.
Fletcher, the nation's biggest construction and building products company, rose 1.7% to $7.25.
"The market is in a bit of a holding pattern waiting to see how the US election is going to pan out," says Michael Milne, an adviser at Craigs Investment Partners. With Fletcher, "people are thinking that the Christchurch rebuild is going to help them".
Steel & Tube rose 2.8% to $2.19. The steel building products supplier will return to the NZX 50 Index after the market close on November 13 after Haier's takeover of Fisher and Paykel Appliances.
"The move into the 50 will be positive for them and get the attention of portfolio managers," Mr Milne says.
OceanaGold, operator of the Macraes gold field, rose 6.2% to $4.28, leading gainers on the NZX 50.
Michael Hill International led gains among retailers, rising 3.3% to $1.24. Outdoor equipment chain Kathmandu climbed 2.3% to $1.79 and children's clothing retailer Pumpkin Patch climbed 1.6% to $1.24.
Briscoe Group fell about 1% to $2.61 after posting quarterly sales of $97.5 million, down from a record $98 million in the same period a year earlier. The retailer was "cautiously optimistic" about the outlook and expects to exceed last year's full-year profit of $27.53 million, dependent on Christmas trading.
Hallenstein Glasson Holdings fell 0.4% to $4.98. Online auction site Trade Me slid 0.5% to $4.02.
Auckland International Airport fell 1.1% to $2.66 and NZ Oil & Gas declined 1.1% to 88.5 cents.
Telecom rose 0.2% to $2.38 and Chorus fell 0.6% to $3.28. Contact Energy declined 0.6% to $5.28.