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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares fall as Fletcher sheds dividend

MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares fall as Fletcher, SkyCity shed dividend; Wrightson drops

Sept. 26 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand shares fell, pushing the NZX 50 Index from a 4 ½-year high as Fletcher Building and SkyCity Entertainment Group shed their dividends. Rural services company PGG Wrightson fell after dairy giant Fonterra posted a drop in annual sales.

The NZX 50 Index fell 15.99 points, or 0.4 percent, to 3809.32. Within the index, 30 shares fell, nine rose and 11 were unchanged. Turnover was $118 million.

Fletcher Building, New Zealand's largest construction company, fell about 3 percent to $6.85 after shedding its 17 cents a share final dividend. SkyCity Entertainment, the casino and hotel operator, dropped 3.6 percent to $3.78after going ex its 8 cent final dividend. Michael Hill International, New Zealand's only listed jewellery maker, fell 0.8 percent to $1.18. It will pay a final dividend of 3.5 cents..

The decline was led by Wrightson, New Zealand's largest agricultural company, down 5.4 percent to 35 cents. Fonterra Cooperative Group, the world’s largest exporter of dairy products, missed its forecast with a 19 percent drop in its 2012 payout to farmers, reflecting lower prices for milk and a stronger kiwi dollar, and in spite of record production.

"I don't think there is a great surprise with Fonterra - the share price may have reacted to that but there are a lot of conflicting factors with PGG," said Matthew Goodson, portfolio manager at BT Funds Management.

Nuplex Industries fell 3.7 percent to $2.85. The company announced earlier this week it would close four plants in Australia and New Zealand in the next two years as the trading outlook dims, eliminating jobs in a restructuring effort that will slice $17 million from forecast 2013 profit.

Hallenstein Glasson Holdings, the clothing chain, fell 0.2 percent to $4.60. The Auckland-based company posted a 15 percent rise in full-year earnings to $21 million, beating estimates as the retailer increased market share. Sales increased 4.9 percent to $215.6 million. The stock has gained about 34 percent this year.

"We have seen clothing retailers, particularly in Australia, experience something of a pick-up," Goodson said. "That has had some impact on Hallenstein's because they are in that market."

Pumpkin Patch, the children's clothing retailer, was unchanged at $1.18 ahead of its full-year results tomorrow.

"They have given reasonable pre-guidance so one would expect they could beat that slightly," Goodson said. "The thing is to look for is stability in their retail operations and growth online."

Trade Me, the online auction site controlled by Fairfax Media, rose 0.5 percent to $3.98 on a day when a rival online auction site start-up was announced..

Telecom, the largest company on the exchange, climbed 0.2 percent to $2.395.

New Zealand Oil & Gas rose 0.6 percent to 83 cents after the company confirmed it will drill the inshore Taranaki oil and gas prospect, Kakapo, but is still looking for at least one more farm-in partner and a suitable drilling rig.

Wellington Drive Technologies, which makes energy-efficient motors, soared 21 percent to 17 cents after the Auckland-based company said it has signed a licensing agreement with a US company worth US$100,000 to US$400,000 a year.


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