On Monday, New Zealand announced it had completely eradicated the virus and ended all COVID-19 restrictions barring its border closure — very welcome news for a handful of ASX-listed stocks.

Basically this means it is ‘business as usual’ for New Zealanders, other than international travel still being off the cards.

ASX stocks domiciled in New Zealand, some of which are dual-listed on the NZX, have risen by an average 4 per cent in the last week.

While this figure is modest, the easing of restrictions has been particularly welcome news for a handful of these stocks.

Code Name Price (I) 1Y % Return 1W % Return Market Cap
SKO SERKO LTD 3.49 -4 32 $341.3M
AIZ AIR NEW ZEALAND LTD 1.675 -26 29 $2.1B
MPP METRO PERFORMANCE GLASS LTD 0.21 -47 27 $38.9M
NZM NZME LTD 0.3 -41 25 $57.0M
9SP 9 SPOKES INTERNATIONAL LTD 0.021 31 24 $25.5M
KMD KATHMANDU HOLDINGS LTD 1.18 -13 22 $900.4M
SKT SKY NETWORK TELEVISION LTD 0.175 -71 21 $267.7M
OCA OCEANIA HEALTHCARE LTD 0.97 2 14 $633.3M
GNE GENESIS ENERGY LTD 2.98 8 9 $3.0B
SNZ SUMMERSET GROUP HOLDINGS LTD 6.16 24 9 $1.4B
SKC SKYCITY ENTERTAINMENT GROUP 2.75 -17 9 $1.9B
FSF FONTERRA SHAREHOLDERS FUND 3.6 -5 7 $5.9B
TRA TURNERS AUTOMOTIVE GROUP LTD 1.7 -13 6 $145.4M
ZEL Z ENERGY LTD 2.86 -47 5 $1.5B
SM1 SYNLAIT MILK LTD 6.78 -20 5 $1.3B
EVO EVOLVE EDUCATION GROUP LTD 0.11 -4 5 $123.1M
A2M A2 MILK CO LTD 17.92 33 3 $13.0B
FBU FLETCHER BUILDING LTD 3.68 -22 3 $3.1M
MCY MERCURY NZ LTD 4.52 27 3 $6.1B
CEN CONTACT ENERGY LTD 6 -10 3 $4.3B
EBO EBOS GROUP LTD 20.74 1 2 $3.6B
BRL BATHURST RESOURCES LTD 0.056 -55 2 $95.7M
MEZ MERIDIAN ENERGY LTD 4.55 18 2 $11.6B
AIA AUCKLAND INTL AIRPORT LTD 6.38 -21 1 $9.6B
SPK SPARK NEW ZEALAND LTD 4.16 23 1 $7.5B
SMP SMARTPAY HOLDINGS LTD 0.565 217 1 $114.6M
TWR TOWER LTD 0.57 -22 0 $240.3M
BGP BRISCOE GROUP LTD 2.7 -19 0 $599.8M
NTL NEW TALISMAN GOLD MINES LTD 0.008 33 0 $21.4M
PVL POWERHOUSE VENTURES LTD 0.06 20 0 $1.9M
IKE IKEGPS GROUP LTD 0.695 34 0 $71.1M
ADR ADHERIUM LTD 0.027 17 0 $16.2M
AFP AFT PHARMACEUTICALS LTD 3.9 72 -1 $459.3M
IFT INFRATIL LTD 4.65 23 -1 $3.2B
TLT TILT RENEWABLES LTD 3.3 45 -2 $1.6B
GTK GENTRACK GROUP LTD 1.67 -67 -2 $170.2M
KTD KEYTONE DAIRY CORP LTD 0.29 -48 -2 $71.8M
CNU CHORUS LTD 7.05 34 -2 $3.2B
VHT VOLPARA HEALTH TECHNOLOGIES 1.37 -26 -3 $347.1M
NZK NEW ZEALAND KING SALMON INVE 1.8 -10 -3 $250.2M
FPH FISHER & PAYKEL HEALTHCARE C 26.92 81 -3 $15.3B
PPH PUSHPAY HOLDINGS LTD 6.96 90 -4 $1.8B
XRO XERO LTD 85.18 43 -5 $11.6B
ZNO ZOONO GROUP LTD 2.4 1991 -6 $374.6M
NEU NEUREN PHARMACEUTICALS LTD 1.62 35 -7 $173.3M
LCT LIVING CELL TECHNOLOGIES LTD 0.012 -61 -8 $7.4M
VGL VISTA GROUP INTERNATIONAL LT 1.705 -66 -8 $411.5M
FAM FAMILY INSIGHTS GROUP LTD 0.022 -56 -8 $2.3M
BPL BROKEN HILL PROSPECTING LTD 0.022 14 -19 $6.3M

 

Travel stocks lead the pack

The top 2 performing stocks are both travel-related; corporate travel agent Serko (ASX:SKO) and flag carrier Air New Zealand (ASX:AIZ).

Although New Zealand’s external borders remain closed there are no restrictions on domestic travel. On Monday, right before Prime Minister Jacinda Arden’s announcement, Air New Zealand said its recovery plan was in a “Survival” mode.

The next two stages were “Revive” and “Thrive” and it hoped the former would begin in 1 September. While it mentioned the easing of domestic travel was part of it, Trans-Tasman and Pacific Island flying was too and both are still some weeks away. It also said it was not factoring a return to long haul flying until 2021.

Serko has not commented since restrictions eased but noted in April that business travel disruption was impacting revenue.

Other stocks that likewise find it difficult to adjust to people being stuck at home have also rallied in the last week. Two examples are casino operator Skycity (ASX:SKC) and outdoor equipment retailer Kathmandu (ASX:KMD).

While the latter kept selling online, it closed most of its stores globally during the pandemic.

 

Life’s easier for food & dairy stocks too; but maybe not the same

One sector that did not see a plunge, at least from a customer perspective, was the food & beverage sector.

In particular seafood and dairy stocks kept operating during the shutdown including King Salmon Investments (ASX:NZK) and New Zealand Coastal Seafoods (ASX:NZS).

The latter told Stockhead in March it still did deliveries with skeleton staff and with maximum care given to health and safety.

It was a similar story with dairy stocks from giant Synlait (ASX:SM1) to small caps Keytone Dairy (ASX:KTD) continuing frontline operations but sending corporate workers home.

While theoretically companies are now free to bring workers back it will inevitably be up to individual companies.

AMP (ASX:AMP), an Australian firm with a presence in New Zealand, announced yesterday it was closing its Auckland and Wellington offices.

While it had planned the move prior to COVID-19, AMP’s New Zealand boss Blair Vernon said COVID-19 was the nail in the coffin because the pandemic showed a large remote workforce is possible.

HRL Holdings (ASX:HRL) was one stock that has updated shareholders this week saying it was now back to business as usual. It operates environmental and laboratory testing services including but not limited to the dairy sector.

At the lockdown’s strictest point only its food and water testing division was allowed to trade but it had re-opened and anticipates underlying revenue and earnings to be slightly higher than the preceding financial year.

 

But will the king stay on top?

No look at New Zealand stocks during COVID-19 would be complete without hand sanitiser maker Zoono (ASX:ZNO) which saw demand for its products go through the roof.

The stock is actually towards the lower end of stocks in a weekly basis but is still up over 2,000 per cent since October last year.

Other New Zealand health plays were similarly subdued in recent days including Volpara Health Technologies (ASX:VHT) and AFT Pharmaceuticals (ASX:AFP).