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MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares down, F&P Health and Pushpay drop

MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares down, F&P Health and Pushpay drop in light trading

By Sophie Boot

Jan. 12 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand shares dipped, led lower by Fisher & Paykel Healthcare and Pushpay Holdings, albeit in light volume as market participants return slowly.

The S&P/NZX50 Index dropped 8.09 points, or 0.1 percent, to 8,242.35. Within the index, 36 stocks fell, 10 rose and four were unchanged. Turnover was $89 million.

"Over the last few trading days we've seen some new capital come into the market, and a few people who have taken advantage of what has been a very strong market to take some profits," said Shane Solly, director, portfolio manager & research analyst at Harbour Asset Management. "We've had a bit of a meeting of the minds there, with people wanting to invest being met with a bit of selling. Given where the market valuations are, which is relatively full, that's not unexpected."

"We're into the confession season now for companies, so we'll be looking forward to getting more information from companies in the next few weeks before the full reporting season kicks off," Solly said. "We'll see a lot more participants back next week so that will be a better test for the market."

Fisher & Paykel Healthcare led the index lower, down 1.5 percent to $13.05. The stock has had a relatively sharp pullback since the end of last year, when it closed at $14.35, Solly said.

Pushpay Holdings dropped 1.4 percent to $4.13, Meridian Energy fell 1 percent to $2.87, and Auckland International Airport declined 0.9 percent to $6.35.

The best performer was Genesis Energy, up 2.9 percent to $2.46, with Freightways gaining 1.8 percent to $7.79 and Port of Tauranga rising 1 percent to $5.08.

Outside the benchmark index, Michael Hill International rose 0.8 percent to $1.35. The jewellery retailer, founded by its namesake, lifted revenue 4.7 percent in the first half, though its US business continued to struggle. Group sales from all stores rose to A$341.5 million in the six months to Dec. 31, 2017, from A$326 million in the previous first half. Same-store sales grew 0.5 percent to A$317.3 million in the six months.

Rubicon was unchanged at 23.5 cents. Shareholders have voted in favour of its proposal to sell a 45 percent stake in Tenon Clearwood Partnership, a large clearwood sawmill and manufacturing operation in Taupo.

The US$14.9 million purchase price - including its share of the latest reduction in the company's net debt - fell towards the middle of the Grant Samuel range, which was US$13.2 million-to-US$17.8 million and 99.9 percent of the shares voted at today's special meeting in Christchurch were in favour. The transaction is expected to close Jan. 31.

(BusinessDesk)

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