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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares fall on Ryman earnings

MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares fall on Ryman earnings; tariffs waived for Fletcher rivals

By Suze Metherell

May 15 (BusinessDesk) – New Zealand stocks fell, paced by Ryman Healthcare after its annual earnings, and Fletcher Building after the government waved tariffs on imported building products. Mainfreight led the NZX 50 Index lower, while Xero, a2 Milk and Meridian Energy benefited from inclusion in global indexes.

The NZX 50 fell 18.399 points, or 0.4 percent, to 5194.960. Within the index, 18 stocks fell, 22 rose and 10 were unchanged. Turnover was $140 million.

Ryman fell 2 percent to $8.70 after the retirement village operator said annual underlying profit, which excludes non-cash items such as deferred taxation and unrealised gains on investment properties, rose 18 percent to $118.2 million, marking its 12th consecutive year of profit growth.

"The result is in line with market expectations, it is not materially above like they have been in the past," said Sam Trethewey, an investment analyst at Milford Asset Management, which owns Ryman shares. "Ryman has a track record of growing its underlying profit at 19 to 20 percent a year and some people were expecting another big upgrade from them. It's not a bad result, it's just not what they have done in the past."

Fletcher dropped 1.2 percent to $9.21 after the government said it is temporarily removing tariffs and duties on imported building products to cut the cost of an average home build by an estimated $3,500. Fletcher is New Zealand’s largest company with a near monopoly on construction supplies and building products.

“There is generally a tone in that sort of aspect of the budget that government wants to try and get the cost of building down,” said Mark Lister, head of private wealth research at Craigs Investment Partners. “On the face of it, this is just a very small, sort of fringe issue for Fletcher Building but if it points to a desire to take further steps then it might be something that is spooking a few people.

Steel & Tube Holdings, which also produces construction supplies, slid 2.3 percent to $3.01.

Transport company Mainfreight fell 5.4 percent to $13.05, after it was dropped from the MSCI Small Cap Index after the global benchmark was reweighted for the quarter.

“What you’re seeing is people selling because they have to follow a benchmark, so they have to sell by a certain date, regardless of what the company’s outlook is, so it is one of those technical anomalies,” Lister said.

Conversely, Xero, the cloud-based accounting software firm rose 2.9 percent to $32.78, after it was added to the MSCI Global Standards Index. A2 Milk led the day’s gainers, advancing 3.9 percent to 81 cents and Meridian Energy rose 1.7 percent to $1.21 on their inclusion in the small cap index.

Trade Me Group, the online auction site, dropped 5.4 percent to $13.05.

Telecom rose 0.7 percent to $2.71. Air New Zealand slid 2.3 percent to $2.15. Auckland International Airport declined 2.9 percent to $4.015.

Goodman Property Trust advanced 0.5 percent to $1.04, after reporting a 72 percent gain in annual net profit and a move to restructure its governance yesterday.

DNZ Property Fund climbed 0.3 percent to $1.60. Kiwi Income Property Trust gained 0.4 percent to $1.16. Precinct Properties New Zealand rose 0.9 percent to $1.07.

Dual-listed Goodman Fielder, the Australian food company, was unchanged at 73 cents before being halted for a takeover proposal. The maker of Vogels bread rejected a A$1.27 billion takeover offer from the Wilmar International, the world’s biggest palm oil processor, and First Pacific Co last month.

(BusinessDesk)

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