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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares drop; Fletcher, Kathmandu fall

MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares drop; Fletcher, Kathmandu hurt by high kiwi, Hallenstein extends slide

By Suze Metherell

Jan. 17 (BusinessDesk) – New Zealand shares dropped as the kiwi hit an eight-year high against the Australian dollar, weighing on companies that make sales across the Tasman such as Fletcher Building and Kathmandu Holdings. Apparel retailer Hallenstein Glasson Holdings sank to a four-year low after posting weak sales this week.

The NZX 50 Index fell 27.343 points, or about 0.6 percent, to 4893.947. Within the index, 25 fell, 16 stocks rose and nine were unchanged. Turnover was $104 million.

The New Zealand dollar rose as high as 94.80 Australian cents amid further evidence the New Zealand economy is outpacing its neighbour, including data showing Australia shed jobs last month.

Outdoor clothing retailer Kathmandu fell 3.8 percent to $3.29, while New Zealand’s biggest company, Fletcher Building, dropped 1 percent, to $8.97. SkyCity Entertainment, which has casinos in Adelaide and Darwin, sank 1.6 percent, to $3.78.

“The high kiwi is an on-going issue, especially coming up to the reporting round,” said David Price, a broker at Forsyth Barr. “Before Christmas we had a lot of companies saying that international sales were high, but the transfer into the New Zealand dollar loses that.”

Hallenstein, which has said it is battling against offshore internet retailers, fell 9.7 percent, compounding yesterday’s 18 percent drop, to $3.16. Restaurant Brands New Zealand fell 1.4 percent to $2.78. Warehouse, New Zealand’s biggest listed retailer rose 0.3 percent to $3.75, while children’s apparel retailer Pumpkin Patch was unchanged at 73 cents.

“This is probably not a cyclical issue, but here to stay,” Price said. The high kiwi entices local bargain hunters to spend up big on northern hemisphere online sales.

Xero, the cloud accounting software firm, rose 1.3 percent to $41.80, leading the continuing trend of investor enthusiasm for growth stocks. Security software developer Wynyard Group rose 4.2 percent to $2.50, another record high. Diligent Board Member Service, which makes software for company directors, rose 1.5 percent to $4.83.

Auckland International Airport rose 1 percent to $3.585, while Telecom dropped 2.9 percent to $2.36. The national carrier, Air New Zealand, fell 0.3 percent to $1.695.

Chorus, the network provider and builder of the government’s ultra-fast broadband, fell 1.6 percent to $1.55.

Partially privatised electricity company MightyRiverPower fell 0.7 percent, to $2.025, while New Zealand’s largest renewable energy generator, Meridian Energy, rose 0.5 percent to 98.5 cents.

(BusinessDesk)

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