24 Nov 2012

Sharemarket at highest level since 2008

6:03 am on 24 November 2012

The New Zealand sharemarket closed at its highest level in nearly five years on Friday and is up 22% so far in 2012.

The NZX 50, which covers the top 50 stocks by market value, was up 11 points at the close to 4008 on turnover of $97 million - the highest it has been since January 2008.

A stockbroker at Hamilton Hindin Greene says the level of companies' dividends are boosting interest in buying shares.

James Smalley says dividend yields in the 7% to 9% range being paid out by many listed companies is much better than the 3% or 4% that investors can get on bank deposits.

Mr Smalley says recent weak economic data means interest rates are likely to stay low for some time and could mean that shares will rise higher.

"Traditional fixed interest investments, such as term investments at the bank, have essentially halved from the returns that they were doing on the pre-GFC (global financial crisis) basis, which were around 8% or 9%.

"Now typically on a similar term you're only getting 4%, so I think that is making a lot of investors more amenable to looking at yield plays on the stock market."

Share details

Telecom rose 1 cent to $2.36, Fletcher Building jumped 15c to $7.99 and Chorus finished 5c higher at $3.30 on Friday.

Other rises included Sky City Entertainment, up 2c to $3.79 and Sky Network TV, up 5c at $5.05.

Big retailer The Warehouse rose 4c to $3.19, while software seller Xero rose 9c to $6.44.

Mainfreight rose 2c to $10.80, Hallenstein Glasson rose 11c to $5.36 and Trade Me rose 4c to $4.34.

Contact Energy was unchanged at $5.08, and Auckland International Airport fell 0.5 of a cent to $2.65.

At the close of the local business day, the New Zealand dollar was trading at 81.65 US cents, 78.54 Australian cents, 51.20 pence, 67.13 yen, 0.6336 of a euro.

The Trade Weighted Index stood at 73.25 points.