New Zealand's benchmark share index rose today with optimism boosted by the strong performance on Wall Street overnight.
Greg Smith, head of retail at Devon Funds, said the US consumer price index (CPI) data that was released yesterday came in lower than markets had feared, 8.5% annually versus the 8.7% expected, helping boost NZ’s market.
“Investors are asking, are we actually on the other side of inflation," Smith said. “And there’s certainly relief that we seem to be on the other side of the inflationary hill.”
The S&P/NZX 50 index rose 6 points, or just 0.07% , to 11,760.01. Turnover on the main board was a very light $85.6m.
Property and travel were the focus of the index today, thanks to new data released by the Real Estate Institute (REINZ) and Statistics NZ. As well, Air NZ announced it was cutting back on flights for the rest of the year.
The Real Estate Institute data showed that house prices fell 2.9% in the year ended July nationwide and were down 10.8% from their November peak.
The number of sales sank 36.7% from 7,391 in July 2021 to 4,678 in July 2022.
Wellington suffered the most when it came to price fall, down 12.7% in the latest year, followed by a 7.1% drop in Auckland. On the other side of the coin, Northland’s prices rose 10.4% – however, sales in the region were down 44%.
Kiwibank senior economist Jeremy Couchman said July’s data showed “another soggy month for the housing market” while ASB senior economist Mike Jones said the best word to describe the market’s state of activity was “hibernation”.
Fletcher Buildings rose 1.5% to $5.46 by the end of the day while Goodman Property rose 0.7% to $2.265 and Investore Property shares were flat at $1.78.
Kiwi Property Group fell 0.5% to $1.02 and Vital Healthcare Property Trust rose 0.18% to $2.83.
Vital Healthcare Property Trust also released its full-year earnings today, with annual net profit rising 9%, reflecting strong growth in earnings, and recent acquisitions and development.
Net profit for the year ended June 30 rose to $303.5 million compared with $278.4m the previous year.
This morning, technology company Rakon warned its annual earnings may fall by as much as a third as a global shortage of chips eases and removes the tailwind that propelled last year's record result for the components maker.
At its annual meeting, the electronic components company pinned much of its hopes for the future on a new manufacturing plant in India and its plan to take the US market by storm.
Rakon was down 0.64% to $1.56 by early evening.
Church management software company Pushpay was up 1.5% to $1.29 and fleet company Eroad fell 1% to $1.90.
Statistics NZ released its migration data for June today, which showed border crossings had continued to increase through June and reached the highest monthly numbers since border and travel restrictions were introduced back in March 2020.
There were about 420,000 border crossings in June, made up of 206,000 arrivals and 214,100 departures.
Air NZ also announced that it will be operating on a reduced schedule over the next six months due to staff sickness from covid-19 and flu.
About 100,000 people are likely to be affected as the airline cuts flights back from its schedule.
“While we did factor sickness into our ramp-up plan, we’ve seen the highest rates of crew sickness in over a decade,” chief executive Greg Foran said.
“We see these challenges continuing not just for the crew, but for our whole operation, and so we’re making proactive changes to address them.”
Greg Smith said it was a shame the airline was having to cut back on flights and not be able to “really maximise” the strong conditions it was operating in, ranging from the borders fully opening and demand for air travel being “really, really strong”.
Air NZ was up 0.77% to 65.5 cents by the end of the day while Auckland International Airport was flat at $7.69.
On the currency front, the NZ dollar was trading at 63.95 US cents at 5pm, jumping up from 62.88 on Wednesday.
Tina Teng said in a note that while bets for a “peak Fed” were growing, other major central banks were on pace for more aggressive rate hikes and had caused the US dollar to fall against other major currencies this morning due to a rotation in monetary policy cycles.