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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares fall on last day of upbeat quarter

MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares fall on last day of upbeat quarter, Spark and Xero drop

By Sophie Boot

June 30 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand shares fall, joining an Asia-wide slide, even as the benchmark index finished its strongest month this year, with Spark New Zealand and Xero leading the decline.

The S&P/NZX 50 Index fell 74.01 points, or 1 percent, to 7,611.44. Within the index, 32 stocks fell, nine rose and nine were unchanged. Turnover was $184 million.

"It's obviously pretty weak across the board because we had global markets that were off the boil quite a bit overnight, just about everywhere in the Asian region is following suit. It's still not too bad, New Zealand will still finish the week, month and quarter up pretty strongly," said Mark Lister, head of private wealth research at Craigs Investment Partners.

After US market weakness, Asian equity markets dropped today. Japan's Nikkei 400 fell 1 percent, Australia's S&P/ASX 200 was down 1.5 percent and Hong Kong's Hang Seng had fallen 0.9 percent at 5pm New Zealand time. The local benchmark index is up 0.8 percent this week, 2.6 percent in the month and 5.8 percent in the quarter.

"Overall we're holding up pretty well, we're doing much better than Australia and the month of June will make for the best month we've seen this year," Lister said. "Year-to-date, the NZX is sitting on a gain of 10.79 percent, which is bloody good. We're only halfway through the year and the market has put on 10 percent, that's very strong - it's better than the US, Australia and Europe, just about anywhere else. That's a reflection of a very strong economy and some good companies that are pretty well positioned."

Spark led the index lower, down 3.6 percent to $3.78. The telecommunications company held its investor day today.

"They've released a raft of information, they have had a few strong days lately so it might be a bit of profit taking or some people might have been expecting something more exciting to come out of the day and nothing did," Lister said.

Xero dropped 2.7 percent to $25.20, which Lister said was likely on the back of a bit of weakness in US tech stocks, while Comvita fell 2.7 percent to $5.80 and Sky Network Television declined 2.3 percent to $3.45.

Restaurant Brands New Zealand was the best performer, up 2 percent to $6.26.

"It's just going from strength to strength, they'll finish the week a good 5 percent higher and they paid a dividend not long ago as well. They've had some very strong momentum, have been performing very well," Lister said.

Stockmarket operator NZX was unchanged at $1.12. It will carry out an extensive review of its business with the results due in November and while shareholder Tony Falkenstein wasn't elected to the board, his observations will be considered as part of that review, chairman James Miller told today's annual general meeting.

Outside the benchmark index, Tilt Renewables CX. The wind and solar generation facilities operator, which split from Trustpower last year, has warned earnings will be as much as A$12 million lower for 2018 after a weak start to the year. The company also announced it will build a $105 million wind farm in Victoria.

(BusinessDesk)

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