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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares fall on Fletcher result; FPH gains

MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares fall on Fletcher result; F&P Healthcare gains on guidance

Feb. 20 (BusinessDesk) – New Zealand shares fell, led by Fletcher Building after the biggest company on the NZX 50 Index posted first-half earnings highlighting tough times in Australia. Fisher & Paykel Healthcare jumped after unexpectedly lifting its guidance.

The NZX 50 fell 29.97 points, or 0.7 percent, to 4214.24. Within the index, 25 stocks fell, 16 rose and nine were unchanged. Turnover was $169.6 million.

Fletcher, the Australasian building products and construction group, fell 4.8 percent to $8.87 after reporting a 1 percent increase in interim earnings, missing some estimates. It saw no immediate improvement in the Australian market, where the biggest earnings drop came from its Crane Group unit.

“Australia including Crane disappointed the market,” said James Lee, head of institutional equities at First NZ Capital. “It’s hard to see the Australian market turning around in the short term.”

F&P Healthcare, which makes breathing masks and respirators, climbed 7.7 percent to $2.52 after raising its full-year profit guidance to $75 million as demand for new breathing masks helps speed sales and margins widen. The company gets more than 50 percent of sales in US dollars.

“Healthcare surprised the market today,” Lee said. It has lifted guidance “despite a much stronger currency. The market will assume that it’s slightly conservative as well.”

Trade Me Group, the auction website, fell 2.3 percent to $4.31. The company lifted first-half profit 2.7 percent to $37.4 million. That was just below Forsyth Barr analyst Rob Mercer’s forecast of $38.1 million though it beat the company’s prospectus forecast.

Warehouse Group, the biggest retailer on the bourse, fell 3.7 percent to $3.40. Hallenstein Glasson Holdings, the clothing chain, fell 1.5 percent to $5.35.

Contact Energy rose 2.9 percent to $5.40 having announced yesterday that first-half profit rose 29 percent to $88 million as the impact of low wholesale electricity prices offset flat demand and shrinking margins on retail electricity sales.

NZX fell 2.3 percent to $1.25. The stock exchange operator this week posted a 32 percent decline in full-year profit as one-time costs contributed to expenses growing faster than sales.

Ebos Group, which posted earnings late yesterday, rose 2.3 percent to $9.10. The healthcare and animal care products company lifted its interim profit by 29 percent thanks to contribution from the Masterpet business.

APN News & Media, whose chairman and chief executive left this week over a disagreement with major shareholders on capital raising, was unchanged at 35 cents on the NZX. The yield on its exchange-listed March 2016 bonds, which pay a coupon of 7.86 percent, jumped to 17 percent, according to NZX figures.

Seeka Kiwifruit Industries rose 4.2 percent to $1.25 after posting full-year earnings before tax, impairment, revaluations and restructuring of $8.9 million, beating its guidance range of $5.7 million to $6.4 million.

(BusinessDesk)

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