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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares fall; Fletcher, Xero drop

MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares fall; Fletcher, Xero, Auckland Airport, Telecom drop

By Suze Metherell

March 11 (BusinessDesk) – New Zealand stocks fell for a second day as some investors took advantage of a market that reached a record last week to reduce their holdings. New Zealand’s four largest listed companies, Fletcher Building, Xero, Auckland International Airport and Telecom, paced the decline.

The NZX 50 Index fell 15.898 points, or 0.3 percent, to 5101.937. Within the index, 25 stocks fell, 18 rose and seven were unchanged. Turnover was $ 145 million. The benchmark index has gained 6.9 percent this year, and was up 3 percent last week, to a record close of 5125.652 on Friday.

Fletcher, New Zealand’s largest listed company, dropped 1.7 percent to $9.69, while the second largest, Wellington-based Xero, slipped 0.5 percent to $44.75. Auckland International Airport declined 1.6 percent to $3.81, and Telecom fell 0.8 percent to $2.435.

“We’re probably overdue for a little bit of a correction on the market and there is one or two investors out there looking to take some profits off the table after what’s been a pretty good run up on the market,” said Grant Williamson, director at Hamilton Hindin Greene.

Outdoor-clothing retailer Kathmandu Holdings, which gets two thirds of sales in Australia, slipped 2.2 percent to $3.6. SkyCity Entertainment Group, which has casino and hotel operations in Darwin and Adelaide, dropped 1 percent to $3.90.

“It was highlighted in the financial reporting season that companies that had a lot of exposure to sluggish Australian economy were just struggling a little bit,” Williamson said. “It does remain a concern for investors and they are keeping a pretty close eye on any company that does have any exposure over there.”

Chorus rose 0.6 percent to $1.57 after the telecommunications network operator said it reached an initial deal with Crown Fibre Holdings giving it more cash flow certainty for the ultrafast broadband roll-out. The stock has fallen 47 percent in the past 12 months because of looming price controls.

“Investors are just regaining a little bit of confidence in the Chorus story. That share price has moved a little bit higher in the last month or so, obviously it has come from a very sold down position,” Williamson said.

Breathing apparatus manufacturer Fisher and Paykel Healthcare climbed 2.6 percent to $4.27, its highest since 2007. Ebos Group, the healthcare and animal care company, rose 2 percent to $10.40.

“The healthcare sector is quite a defensive sector to invest in, and investors are certainly paying close attention to that,” Williamson said.

OceanaGold Corp was the benchmark’s worst performer, down 5.2 percent to $2.75.

Outside the index, Wynyard Group rose 1 percent to $2.91. The specialist security software company announced a new deal with United Kingdom-based Radio Tactics to deliver an advanced mobile device analytics service for extracting data from seized mobile devices.

Retailer Postie Plus, climbed 11 percent to 10 cents after announcing first-half sales fell 9.9 percent in the six months ended Feb. 3 and said it expects to have a “significant” net loss before tax in the year ending Aug. 3, though smaller than last year’s loss of $10.6 million.

Allied Farmers extended yesterday’s gains climbing 7.1 percent to 6 cents, near a seven month high. Last Friday it was reported Ron Brierley had taken a 2.87 percent stake and was the fifth largest investor in the Hawera-based company.

Wool Equities, which processes wool for its grower shareholders, suspended trading this afternoon and will de-list from the small-cap New Zealand Alternative Market on Friday. The company is negotiating a potential merger with Primary Wool Cooperative, a farmer-owned joint venture with wool broker Elders.


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