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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares fall; Fletcher drops

MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares fall; Fletcher drops, Air NZ reaches 16-year high

By Sophie Boot

July 10 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand shares dropped, led by Fletcher Building and Auckland International Airport down while Air New Zealand reached a 16-year high.

The S&P/NZX 50 Index fell 38.18 points, or 0.5 percent, to 7,583.95. Within the index, 25 stocks fell, 19 rose and six were unchanged. Turnover was $103 million.

The market "is quieter in terms of volume but we are still seeing positive trends in some stocks like Air New Zealand," said Shane Solly, director, portfolio manager & research analyst at Harbour Asset Management. "We've certainly benefited from some of the start of the quarter inflows of capital pushing our market along. Given we're in a holiday impacted period, we're holding up quite well."

Air New Zealand was the best performer, rising 2.2 percent to $3.485, the highest it has traded since 2001. The stock has gained 55 percent this year, bolstered by improved guidance for full-year 2017 earnings before taxation to exceed $525 million.

Fletcher Building led the index lower, down 2.4 percent to $7.81. Solly said the stock was one which people would be focussed on in the upcoming reporting season. It has dropped 25 percent this year.

Auckland International Airport declined 2.3 percent to $6.915, Kiwi Property Group fell 2.1 percent to $1.385 and Goodman Property Trust dipped 2 percent to $1.225.

Retirement village operators gained. Summerset advanced 1.5 percent to $4.76, Metlifecare gained 1.1 percent tot $5.34, and Ryman Healthcare rose 0.9 percent to $8.65.

"There's a lot of noise out there about what a slowing housing market does and doesn't do for listed property companies, you've got to look through the cycle," Solly said. "It's a sector that has some benefit from structural change in the form of an ageing population. That sector as a whole is positive on the day - there have been some negative comments out there, the market is starting to think about the other side of that."

Kathmandu Holdings rose 1.9 percent to $2.15, while Xero gained 1.8 percent to $25.75.

CBL Corp rose 1.2 percent to $3.34. The Auckland-based credit surety and financial risk insurer has continued its acquisition spree of recent years with the purchase of a 40 percent stake in Allied Risk Holdings for 1.38 million euros. It will use the Irish professional insurer's senior management to populate its own European executive team.

Outside the benchmark index, Augusta Capital was unchanged at $1.06. The listed property investor and fund manager has sold one of its properties for $30 million, which it says will be used to pay down debt and fund future acquisitions.


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