New Zealand’s sharemarket had more pep in its step today ahead of key US inflation data coming out later tonight.

The S&P/NZX 50 index rose 95 points, or 0.8%, to 11,601.42. Turnover was $147.1 million.

Brad Gordon, an investment adviser at Hobson Wealth, said NZ’s market was waiting to see what was written in the US inflation data tea leaves and what it would show about the big macro and interest-rate picture that investors were concerned about.

“Depending on what this inflation number looks like, I suspect we're due for the weakest number in terms of inflation,” he told BusinessDesk. 

Cancer diagnostics firm Pacific Edge jumped 7.6% to 49.5 cents after the company announced that new clinical evidence showed significant improvements in the performance of its genomic diagnostic Cxbladder tests had been accepted for publication.

Dairy shares had a good day yesterday and were positive again today. A2 Milk was up 2%, to $7.16, and Synlait Milk rose 0.6%, to $3.68. Fonterra Shareholders’ Fund units were also up 0.3%, to $3.25. 

Fonterra revealed today that the company and Nestlé will sell their Dairy Partners Americas (DPA) Brazil joint venture to French dairy company Lactalis for R$700 million (Brazilian reals) – roughly NZ$210m.

Subject to regulatory authority approvals, the deal is expected to be completed by the middle of next year.

Westpac was up 0.6% to $24.95 after it announced that – after a 10-month search – it had found its new chief economist for NZ, Kelly Eckhold.

Eckhold will take over the role in March from acting chief economist Michael Gordon, who has been in the role since Dominick Stephens left the bank in March last year. 

The Real Estate Institute said house prices were down 13.7% nationally in the year ended November, but sales volumes during the month fell further, by 36.1% from November last year.

The institute pointed to rising interest rates, the lack of access to finance and concerns about the economy creating uncertainty as reasons behind the falls.

Property stocks on the index today were a little pinched, with Property for Industry falling by 1.7% to $2.34 and Argosy Property edging down 0.4% to $1.18.

Aged-care provider Ryman Healthcare also fell 2.1% to $6.10.

Today, the NZ dollar was trading at 63.94 US cents at 3pm in Wellington, slightly up from 63.87 US cents on Friday.