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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares fall as earnings dominate

MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares fall in session dominated by earnings; Fletcher, Nuplex disappoint

By Suze Metherell

Feb. 20 (BusinessDesk) – New Zealand stocks fell after Fletcher Building and Nuplex Industries posted earnings disappointed investors. Trade Me Group rebounded after dropping in the wake of its results yesterday.

The NZX 50 Index fell 4.315 points, or about 0.1 percent, to 4909.827. Within the index, 19 stocks fell, 20 rose and 11 were unchanged. Turnover was $144 million.

In one of the biggest days of earnings season six NZX 50 listed companies reported.

New Zealand’s biggest listed company Fletcher fell 1.9 percent to $9.54, paring an earlier decline to as low as $9.39. Nuplex, the specialty chemicals maker, sank 2.9 percent to $3.38. Both companies reported first-half earnings constrained by the high kiwi against the Australian dollar.

“Because of the weight of Fletcher in the New Zealand index it’s leading the market lower as they count for about 10 points of the index,” said Bryon Burke head of equities Craigs Investment Partners. “Again, they’re companies which had issues with the New Zealand dollar.”

“The Nuplex result was slightly below our forecast, but the outlook is positive, except in Australia,” he said.

Trade Me gained about 5 percent to $4.02, leading the day’s gainers. The online auction site slid to an 18-month low yesterday after its first-half earnings showed subdued growth.

“There was plenty of selling around yesterday and it’s sometimes the case that with some results there can be a kneejerk reaction to announcements and obviously people have looked at it closer and said well actually it’s not so bad,” he said.

Port of Tauranga slipped 0.4 percent to $13.79. New Zealand’s largest port operator reported moderate growth in its first-half, but a drop in container volumes as shippers returned to rival Ports of Auckland which lost ground during its 2012 industrial action.

“Their clients in the shipping companies probably quite like the competitiveness of the two in driving prices as cheap as they can,” Burke said. “Port of Tauranga is pretty solid, it was in line with market expectations and it doesn’t have to worry about the dollar too much.”

Skellerup Holdings climbed 5 percent to $1.79. The industrial rubber goods maker lifted first-half earnings 14 percent and hiked its expectations for annual profit.

Auckland International Airport rose 1.4 percent to $3.69. The nation’s busiest gateway reported a 12 percent boost in first half earnings. Steel & Tube, which reported a 10 percent first-half earnings boost, rose 3.2 percent to $3.20.

“With so many results coming at once it’s hard for both investors and analysts to go through them with a fine tooth comb and adjust portfolios accordingly - we’d expect to see more stock movements in the market in the next few days,” Burke said.

Telecom fell 0.6 percent to $2.415. Casino operator SkyCity Entertainment Group climbed 1.3 percent to $3.79 and Sky Network Television lifted 0.9 percent to $5.89. Xero gained about 1 percent to $39.98.


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