New Zealand stocks have gained slightly with investors seeking out companies such as Telecom with relatively defensive earnings and reasonable dividend yield.
The NZX 50 Index rose 8.702 points, or about 0.2 per cent, to 5088.026 on Monday. Within the index, 20 stocks rose, 19 fell and 11 were unchanged. Turnover was $136.2 million.
Tensions in Ukraine, where Crimea has voted to rejoin Russia, have stoked risk aversion among investors who are also looking for evidence China will manage to meet its target of 7.5 per cent annual economic growth.
New Zealand figures this week are expected to show the economy grew 0.9 per cent in the fourth quarter, near the forecast the central bank gave last week when it hiked interest rates.
Telecom gained 1.2 per cent to $2.48, ahead of shedding rights to its eight cents per share interim dividend on Wednesday.
At Monday’s price it has a dividend yield of 6.5 per cent.
“Telecom rose ahead of going ex-dividend and is seen as a great income even in a rising interest rate environment, and is relatively defensive,” said James Smalley, a director at Hamilton Hindin Greene.
“The market as a whole is following what is going on, particularly in those overseas markets economically in China and politically in the Ukraine and it is definitely going to move our market one way or the other.”
Other defensive stocks such as the property sector gained. Kiwi Income Property rose 0.9 per cent to $1.145, Argosy Property lifted 0.6 per cent to 91.5 cents, Property for Industries advanced 0.4 per cent to $1.205 and Precinct Properties climbed 0.5 per cent to $1.02.
Melbourne-based gold miner OceanaGold led the index higher, jumping 11 per cent to $3.25.
Other leading stocks to have gained include Warehouse Group up 1.6 per cent to $3.27, Fletcher Building 0.2 per cent to $9.60, Auckland International Airport 0.5 per cent to $3.92 and Xero 0.3 per cent to $42.05.
Fisher & Paykel Healthcare fell 1.6 per cent to $4.21 and Skellerup dropped 3.3 per cent to $1.77.