The investors who returned after the Christmas break pushed the New Zealand sharemarket to a near half per cent gain – with some of the hot stock picks for 2022 making solid headway.

The S&P/NZX 50 Index climbed steadily in the morning but had a late fall in the last half-hour matching session. It closed 52 points or 0.4per cent ahead at 12,940.42 after reaching an intraday high of 13,031.72.

The sea of green had 105 gainers and just 38 decliners on volume of 32.6 million share transactions worth $134.95m.

Matt Goodson, managing director of Salt Funds Management, said the New Zealand and Australian markets were strong across the whole board, with increases in most sectors.

“We had two days of United States trading beforehand – it was a little weaker overnight but stronger the day before – and we are seeing a cheery year-end rally,” he said.

The Australian S&P/ASX 200 Index had increased 1.26 per cent to 7514.1 points at 5.45pm NZ time, and has gained 2.16 per cent over the past five trading days.

Heartland Group Holdings, picked by four brokers as a stock to watch next year, rose 11c or 4.7 per cent to $2.45. Another stock pick, transport and logistics software firm Trade Window, was up 15c or 7.89 per cent to $2.05.

Retail jeweller Michael Hill International surged 14c or 11.38 per cent to $1.37 after reporting strong sales growth and sustained margin expansion in November and December including Christmas trading. Michael Hill is now forecasting first-half operating earnings (ebit) to be well above the previous corresponding period’s $44.6m.

Goodson said Michael Hill clearly had a good Christmas and this bodes well for retailing. The consumer impact is obviously because people are spending a lot less on travel.

The Warehouse Group gained 10c or 2.5 per cent to $4.10, Briscoe Group was up 9c to $6.82; and carpet maker and retailer Bremworth increased 3c or 4.48 per cent to 70c.

EBOS Group, another hot stock pick by three brokers, increased $1.42 or 3.54 per cent to $41.50 on the day it was up-weighted in the NZX index following its $780m capital raising. It had the day’s biggest individual trade worth $29m.

Market leader Fisher and Paykel Healthcare was up 15c to $33; Auckland International Airport gained 8c to $7.68; Fletcher Building rose 16c or 2.24 per cent to $7.29; Chorus collected 8c to $7.23; and Summerset Group Holdings increased 12c to $13.12.

The property sector was lively. Argosy rose 4.5c or 2.91 per cent to $1.59, and Stride was up 2c to $2.11.Goodman Property Trust and Vital Healthcare Property Trust were also up 2c to $2.56 and $3.14 respectively.

Vulcan Steel, on one of the broker’s watchlist, increased 20c or 2.09 per cent to $9.75; Z Energy gained 5c to $3.50; and apple exporter Scales Corporation was up 8c to $5.53. Telecommunications provider Vital rose 4c or 8.7 per cent to 50c.

Other gainers were Synlait Milk, up 8c or 2.37 per cent to $3.46; DGL Group rising 11c or 3.67 per cent to $3.11; Grentrack climbing 12c or 5.91 per cent to $2.15; AFT Pharmaceuticals increasing 12c or 2.74 per cent to $4.50; Green Cross Health collecting 3c or 2.63 per cent to $1.17; and Scott Technology up 10c or 3.17 per cent to $3.25.

Among the handful of decliners, Mainfreight was down $1.28 to $89.72; Port of Tauranga declined 11c to $6.55; Mercury Energy fell 11c or 1.81 per cent to $5.97; EROAD decreased 18c or 3.31 per cent to $5.25; and Foley Wines was down 3c or 1.88 per cent to $1.57.

Online personal lender Harmoney Corp told the market it has arranged a $A20m ($NZ21.24m) debt facility through its wholly-owned subsidiary Harmoney Australia Pty to support an accelerating Australian receivables book growth. Harmoney’s share price was unchanged at $1.90.

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