New Zealand shares rose as Fisher & Paykel Healthcare benefitted from a weakening kiwi dollar and Fletcher Building was seen as a good bet on a recovery in the property market and home building.
The NZX 50 Index rose 12.02 points, or 0.4%, to 3387.83. Within the index, 21 stocks fell, 18 rose and 11 were unchanged. Turnover was $161 million, making it the busiest day this year. New Zealand Refining was the most-heavily traded as an estate distributed its holding to its beneficiaries.
F&P Healthcare, which gets more than 50% of its revenue in US dollars, rose 4.2% to $2.25, the highest since Jan. 20, as the New Zealand dollar eased against the greenback.
The company is "very sensitive in currency movements," said Mark Lister, head of private wealth research at Craigs Investment Partners. "It is a very, very good company but it's still at the mercy of the currency."
Fletcher Building, which has the mandate to oversee the rebuilding work in Christchurch, rose 2.2% to $6.85, a five-month high. The stock tumbled in October, when the company cut its earnings guidance, partly reflecting delays in work to rebuild Christchurch.
"It is still a good stock to own to get recovery in the property market," Lister said. "It has just been overdone - too much negativity priced in."
Government figures today showed building activity picked up in the final three months of 2011 as construction in Canterbury began to emerge. The value of building work put in place rose a seasonally adjusted 2.9% to $1.7 billion in the three months ended Dec. 31.
NZ Refining, which operates the nation's only oil refinery, fell 0.3% to $3.20. The estate of George Gardiner today distributed about 14 million shares to eight beneficiaries, reducing the estate's holding to 8.1% from 13.1%.
Heartland New Zealand, the finance company, rose 2.3% to 44 cents. The company said today it will lend to the primary sector on assets including livestock.
Guinness Peat Group, the investment company in wind-down mode, fell 5.2% to 46 cents. Its efforts to sell some of its largest assets are complicated by historical retirement payment liabilities.
New Zealand Oil & Gas rose 2% to75 cents and insurer Tower climbed 1.9% to $1.64.
Infratil, which invests in energy and transport assets, rose 3.2% to $1.93 and transport group Mainfreight fell about 2% to $9.40.
Telecom was unchanged at $2.19 and Contact Energy rose 0.6% to $4.87.