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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares drop; Pacific Edge falls for 7th day

MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares drop; Pacific Edge falls for seventh day

By Suze Metherell

June 3 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand shares fell as Pacific Edge extended its slide for the seventh day on concern sales growth won't translate to earnings any time soon, while Kathmandu led a decline among retailers after weak Australian data and the failure clothing chain Postie Plus Group.

The NZX 50 Index fell 14.318 points, or 0.3 percent, to 5164.117. Within the index, 27 stocks fell, 17 rose and six were unchanged. Turnover was $197 million.

Pacific Edge led the benchmark index lower, down 9.4 percent to a seven-month low of 77 cents. Last week the bladder cancer test developer posted a full-year loss of $9.95 million as it chases growth in its American market, where it is targeting $100 million in sales in five years’ time. The stock gained 150 percent in 2013 on news of deals with American healthcare managers, but has given up most of those gains up since it debuted on the NZX 50 in mid-March.

"We've seen globally, technology and biotech stocks, having boomed over the last year or two, have become a lot more volatile in recent weeks and months," said Matthew Goodson, who helps manage $650 million of equities and property holdings for Salt Funds Management. "Pacific Edge is at that stage where perhaps there is a little bit of investor impatience for having feasted on good news the last year or so people keep wanting the next piece of it."

Xero, the cloud-based accounting software firm, fell 2.7 percent to $31.15.

Kathmandu fell 4.2 percent to a two-month low of $3.46. The outdoor goods chain gets two-thirds of its income from Australia where according to government data clothing sales fell 0.2 percent in March and two listed-retailers, Noni B and RCG, which operates Athlete Foot franchises, have issued profit warnings on unseasonably warm weather crimping sales. Warehouse Group, New Zealand's largest-listed retailer, declined 1.7 percent to $3.39. Brisbane-based jeweler Michael Hill International was unchanged at $1.30.

"There is a gathering realisation, or fear, that the Australian retail sector has slid quite sharply on two things - one has been the anticipation and outcome of the Australian budget and secondly, unlike New Zealand where it has got cold very early, it has stayed extremely warm in Australia," Goodson said.

Outside the benchmark index, Postie Plus Group, the second-worst performing stock on the stock market in the past year, has appointed administrators after its lenders withdrew support as the company faced more losses. The apparel retailer's shares were halted on Thursday at 7.3 cents, valuing the company at $2.9 million. The shares have slumped 72 percent since the start of 2012.

Goodman Property Trust fell 0.9 percent, or 1 cent, to $1.06 after the largest property investor by market cap shed rights to its 1.563 cent final dividend, payable June 19. Kiwi Income Property Trust slipped 1.7 percent, or 2 cents, to $1.18 after it shed rights to its 3.2 cents final dividend, payable on June 19.

New Zealand Oil & Gas advanced 1.9 percent to 79 cents after the exploration company said it has started drilling in the Oi prospect in its latest play to extend the life of offshore infrastructure that is servicing the declining Tui oil field.

Air New Zealand rose 0.9 percent to $2.21 after the national carrier said it had bought 13 new Airbus A320 new engine option aircraft to refresh its international narrow body fleet and an additional A320 to join its domestic operation. The airline said it paid less than list price of $1.6 billion.

Telecom advanced 1.1 percent to $2.72. The country's largest telecommunications provider, which is changing its name to Spark this year, said it is in the process of deregistering its American depository receipts and ordinary shares under the U.S. Securities Exchange Act.

Fletcher Building, New Zealand's largest listed company, climbed 0.7 percent to $9.01. Auckland International Airport declined 0.4 percent to $3.845.


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