4 Mar 2014

Market shakes off Ukraine concerns

7:20 pm on 4 March 2014

New Zealand shares are powering ahead, shaking off concerns about the tensions in Ukraine.

The NZX Top 50 Index hit a fresh record at 5042 points on Tuesday before closing at 5033, up 26 points.

Harbour Asset Management research analyst Craig Stent said New Zealand companies in general were not affected by what was happening in Ukraine.

"The key data point today was building approvals out of Australia, which showed strong gains. On the back of that, Fletcher Building is benefitting," Mr Stent said.

Australian building approvals jumped by nearly 7 percent in January in seasonally adjusted terms, which was a much stronger result than economists had expected after three months of decline.

Fletcher Building shares rose 10 cents to $9.55 and Sky TV gained 16 cents to $6.35.

Meridian's installment receipts climbed 2.5 cents to $1.09.5, while Mighty River Power shares advanced 1.5 cents to $2.05.5. TradeMe shares rose 4 cents to $3.95.

On the down side, the relief rally in Diligent's shares after it produced its financial accounts appears to be petering out. The board papers software company's profit for 2013 plunged 40 percent to $US6.4 million but that was after it spent nearly $8 million getting its accounts in order.

Diligent shares fell 4 cents to $4.78, off their post accounts high of $5.10.

Dollar higher

The New Zealand dollar was slightly higher against the currencies of all the country's major trading partners.

ANZ senior foreign exchange strategist Sam Tuck said the New Zealand market had largely shrugged off concerns over Ukraine.

"Generally, the markets are pretty happy that there has not been an escalation in Ukraine and are coming to the conclusion that that will have, with the present knowledge, a fairly limited impact on the financial markets," Mr Tuck said.

Just after 5pm, the New Zealand dollar was buying 83.65 US cents, 93.66 Australian cents, 50.21 pence, 0.6091 euro and 84.97 yen.